Paid Leave Bill Expected to Mandate Privately Run Program

While sponsors still have not introduced a paid family and medical leave bill, they have begun discussing details about their proposal, including that legislation will likely mandate a minimum level of paid medical and family leave coverage that companies must provide either through a fully funded program or market-based insurance product. We’ve long advocated for a privately operated plan, even as the paid family leave task force recommended a state-run plan last month. We’re still awaiting specifics on critical details of the mandate including qualifications for paid leave and leave durations, which will directly impact the cost.

As soon as a bill is released, we will assess the impact to our members. We continue to be concerned about how such a mandate would impact our state’s 630,000-plus small businesses and their 1.1 million employees. We will continue to work with legislators to develop a solution that considers the needs of employers and employees from all sectors of our economy.

We support legislation that maintains flexibility, like House Bill 1193, “Income Tax Benefits for Family Leave.” This bill creates various income tax credits for employers and employees to incentivize businesses to offer family and medical leave benefits to their workers. Employees receive a credit for contributing to their own leave savings accounts or for their employer’s contribution. Employers receive a credit for paying employees for eight to 12 weeks of leave, as long as they pay at least 50% of the employee’s regular salary, or for contributing to an employee’s leave savings account. This legislation offers flexibility to businesses while also encouraging them to provide a paid leave program to their employees.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lois Landgraf (R-Colorado Springs) and Rep. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch), is headed to the House Finance and Appropriations Committees for consideration.

Read recent coverage:

Bills Proposed to Simplify Sales and Use Tax Collection
Colorado is home to one of the most complicated sales and use tax systems in the country. Vendors must navigate more than 550 jurisdictions that levy sales taxes. That’s why the Chamber has thrown its support behind two bills that would help simplify the system.

House Bill 1022, “Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force,” extends the work of a task force that has been studying and finding feasible solutions. If approved, the task force would continue for another five years.

An example of a feasible solution to come out of the task force is House Bill 1023. This legislation would protect businesses that use the state’s geographic information system database to calculate their sales and use tax rates and requires the Department of Revenue to ensure the database’s accuracy.

House Bill 1022 will go before the House Appropriations Committee. House Bill 1023 passed through the House and is headed to the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee.

Bill for Local Bans on Plastics Dies in Committee
Senate Bill 10, which sought to allow local governments to ban or restrict the use of plastics, died in committee Tuesday, following the Chamber’s testimony in opposition.

The bill would have created “a patchwork of local regulations, that becomes more challenging and costly for businesses to navigate,” Dorothy Jones, Chamber director of public affairs, testified.

Our Legislative Policy Committee voted to oppose the bill last month. The bill, “Repeal Ban on Local Government Regulation of Plastics,” would have repealed past legislation from 1989 that restricted local governments from regulating plastics. Denver ran into the legislation late last year when City Council sought to ban plastic bags. Instead, the city enacted a 10-cent tax on single-use plastic bags.

We believe Senate Bill 10 would have raised costs for consumers and increased the administrative burden on businesses. For instance, a restaurant with locations in more than one jurisdiction would have had to comply with different restrictions. Because there were no exemptions to what could be banned, many worried that cities could apply bans or restrictions to single-use plastics in industries like health care, where life-saving medicines and medical equipment often come in single-use plastics. A ban like that could jeopardize patient safety.

Read our testimony. 

Be sure to stay up to date on this legislative session by checking our website and sharing your perspective with us. We’ll continue to work on your behalf to track legislation that may impact your business.

Follow the session with us.