February 27, 2020
Dear State Leader,
Sadly, we are seeing the possibility for an equitable paid family leave bill implode. The most recent proposal is not the bill we have supported for five years. This new bill is an untested and shallow version of the paid family leave program all Coloradans need and deserve.
None of us should be surprised at this outcome. The voices of women and people of color fighting for a paid leave policy, and who need it most, were lost in the process. We believe without their input at every step, the bill was taken in a direction that leaves too many Coloradans out.
This proposal’s exclusionary policies were one of our main concerns, our other is that another private insurance product employer mandate, rather than a program where costs are shared between all Colorado workers and employers, would continue our stagnant wages in a state with massive growth in costs of living.
We know a paid family leave program could help all families through hard times, but working Coloradans would most benefit from a policy that addresses the cycle of poverty and systemic injustices for those long left behind. For example, this current bill leaves out workers who may have to move jobs for their economic mobility, workers at small businesses, and small businesses themselves that could participate in a public option.
We waited a year for a task force to research the most solvent, affordable, and equitable paid leave program for Colorado, and their recommendations were clear: a state-run plan would best help all workers. This work is too important to be derailed by people who insist on a private option at the expense of communities who need paid leave the most.
It is way past time that the programs created by the legislature are inclusive of all communities—that is how we change our systems of power and create true equity. That is how we ensure more Coloradans, especially women, can have economic mobility.
We thank the sponsors who have worked so hard on this bill year after year, but we are especially grateful for those who spoke up and said this version is not enough, that it leaves out entire communities and continues inequity.
We look forward to working with you on amending this paid family leave bill so it includes all of our voices and all of our needs. Coloradans deserve nothing short of that.
Women’s Lobby of Colorado
womenslobbyofcolorado.org | firstname.lastname@example.org