Colorado voters pass Paid Family and Medical Leave ballot measure by 9to5 Colorado

On November 3, 2020, Colorado made history as the ninth state in the country to pass Paid Family and Medical Leave into law and the first state to ever secure Paid Family and Medical Leave through a ballot initiative.

With this vote, Colorado has demonstrated for the rest of the nation that Paid Family and Medical Leave must be a part of our economic infrastructure and that, once again, the power of the people is an undeniable force.

9to5 has held the belief that working women and their families should have access to equitable and affordable paid leave as a cornerstone of our advocacy work for the past decade. This victory is long overdue, and we are proud to have led, alongside our partners, the Paid Family and Medical Leave ballot campaign to bring this program to all Coloradans. Our work stands on the shoulders of many former and present 9to5 members, community leaders, and staff.

This program will bring relief to 2.6 million workers and their families throughout Colorado and sets a precedent that family and medical care is a basic human right owed to everyone without strapping working families with enormous debts.

Working women and our families have carried the greatest burden when it comes to the unmet need for paid time off. We are often given the impossible decision to choose between our families’ health and our financial stability. When faced with these choices, we are less likely to have the opportunity to recover from life’s emergencies, but Paid Family and Medical Leave is one step towards reducing this burden. 

We are excited to continue the momentum from this successful ballot initiative towards further action for economic access and opportunity. We must strengthen and expand this and other programs to guarantee accessible benefits for all by continuing to uplift the leadership of directly-impacted community members, advocates, and allies.

Thank you to the workers, voters, and advocates for making this happen. This is only possible because of the people. Thank you also to all of the organizations, coalitions, and legislators who worked tirelessly with us to push forward an adequate, accessible, and affordable program. And lastly but far from least, a huge thank you to all of the 9to5 members and staff who have created a paid leave legacy with such momentum that our fight was unshakeable.

Special thanks to the Colorado Families First Coalition, the FAMLI Coalition, Senator Faith Winter, Senator Dominick Moreno, Representative Monica Duran, Representative Yadira Caraveo, Representative Matt Grey, Family Values @ Work, Colorado Fiscal Institute, SEIU Local 105, A Better Balance, UFCW Local 7, Colorado AFL-CIO, Good Business Colorado, Small Business Majority, COPA, Together Colorado, State Policy Advisors, Colorado Working Families Party, United for a New Economy, Strategies 360, The Fairness Project, Paid Leave for All, COLOR, Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association, The Bell Policy Center, Mi Familia Vota, and RAISE Colorado.

By Ashley Panelli, Associate State Director, 9to5 Colorado