COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Proposition 118 aims to offer a state-run family and medical leave insurance program for Colorado workers.
If passed, the program would offer up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave and four additional weeks for pregnancy or childbirth complications. During that time employees would receive up to 90% of their wage.
The program would be funded by premiums paid by the employer and employee. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees would not have to pay the premiums.
For example, if you make $851 per week, which is average for Colorado, $3.83 would come out of your paycheck every week to pay for the program.
Another way to think about it is - 99% of your paycheck stays with you and 1% goes towards the family leave program.
The premiums would start being collected in 2023, and you would be able to apply for benefits in 2024.
Arguments for Proposition 118:
- The measure ensures Colorado workers can care for themselves or their loved ones with financial support and job protection.
- Paid leave would increase employment opportunities and would benefit the state's economy.
- The measure allows caretakers and those with chronic health issues to join and remain in the workforce.
Arguments against Proposition 118:
- The measure places a financial and regulatory burden on employers to navigate the program's complex requirements.
- Small businesses may be discouraged from growing in order to avoid premium costs.
- The measure requires employees to pay into a program that they may never benefit from using.
Rachel Beck is the Vice President of the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Corporation and says she sees a lot of problems with this proposition, the main one being the longevity of the program.
"There are two studies that show it may be bankrupt after just a couple years of operation at even modest usage rates. We're very concerned about setting up a one-size-fits-all solution that's really going to harm our economy and may not even be there when families need it the most," Beck said.
On the other side of the debate is Edwin Zoe who is a restaurant owner in Denver.
He says Proposition 118 is a way to offer his employees insurance coverage he normally wouldn't have been able to afford.
"It's a win-win for 80% of Colorado workers right now that do not have benefits. It's a win-win for small businesses because it really enables us to better compete with large businesses and be able to retain really quality workers for ourselves," Zoe said.
Beck says there are all sorts of costs with the program that are not necessary.
"It sets up a new department at the state that will employ almost 200 new people," Beck told KRDO. "There has not been a chamber of commerce in the state that has come out in favor of this."
Zoe says the costs are reasonable considering the benefits workers gain.
"The cost for my restaurant comes out to as little as 15 cents per $100 in revenue," Zoe said.
A vote "yes" on Proposition 118 means you are in favor of creating a state-run program offering paid family and medical insurance for workers.
A vote "no" on Proposition 118 means you are against a state-run program offering paid family and medical insurance for workers.