Progress on Family and Medical Leave, Equality, in Colorado

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The Colorado legislature’s passage of the Family Care Act (H.B. 13-1222), which creates state family and medical leave protections for civil union and domestic partners, is a victory for equality and Colorado families. When Governor Hickenlooper signs this bill, more Colorado families will be able to rest a little easier knowing that, if their loved ones become seriously ill or face a family medical emergency, they will not have to choose between health and job.

Colorado joins 10 other states and the District of Columbia in showing true leadership and a commitment to working families by building on the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA guarantees eligible workers up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave to recover from serious medical conditions, care for a family member or bond with a new child. For 20 years the FMLA has meant that millions of people have been able to take leave when they need it most, but more than 40 percent of the workforce is not eligible for the unpaid leave it guarantees.

We need Congress to follow the lead of Colorado and other forward-thinking states by making civil union and domestic partners — as well as siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and in-laws — eligible for FMLA leave nationwide. Congress also must make leave available to more workers who need leave for more reasons and establish the national paid family and medical leave program the country urgently needs.

We commend 9to5 Colorado for making this victory possible, and for its dedication to advancing family friendly policies throughout the state. Colorado is leading the way on expanding leave.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. Based in Washington, D.C., the organization drafted and led the fight to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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