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Colorado opens online portal to apply for paid leave program starting in 2024

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Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – Three years after Colorado voters approved Proposition 118, the state launched an online portal for workers to begin applying for paid family and medical leave.

Voters approved 12 weeks of paid leave per year starting in 2024. Premiums paid by employers and employees fund the program.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance, known as FAMLI+, will allow workers to apply for a partial replacement of wages when they take a leave of absence for a significant life event. Some examples of events are welcoming a new child, dealing with a serious health condition, or caring for others with serious medical conditions.

Even though paid leave becomes available for almost all working Coloradans January 1, 2024, the state opened the application portal to help those who know they will need to take paid leave as soon as it becomes available.

“We’re proud to give Colorado workers a best-in-class user portal to give them the support they need when facing a major life event,” Tracy Marshall, director of the FAMLI Division, said in a statement. “Not only does My FAMLI+ provide Colorado workers a stress-free application process, it also allows health care providers to certify their patients’ claims all online, reducing the paperwork and processing times."

The FAMLI Division will hold virtual town halls in December, January and February to assist people in navigating the portal and to answer application questions.

The collection of premiums and wage reports started at the beginning of this year so program benefits could be distributed in 2024. Employees pay 0.45 percent per paycheck to the program and employers pay a 0.9 percent payroll premium. The employer premium is capped at 1.2 percent by state law.

The state is encouraging workers to communicate with their health care providers about registering in the portal as the organizations must certify some leave claims.

“The wage-replacement benefits are based on a sliding scale that replaces your previous income,” according to information on the state website. A premium and benefits calculator is available to provide information on benefits if al leave claim is certified.

"Benefits are calculated on a sliding scale using the individual's average weekly wage from the previous five calendar quarters in relation to the average weekly wage for the state of Colorado and may increase over time," according to the state website.

The law prohibits employees from being terminated or penalized for taking the paid leave after approximately six months of employment.