Media Release: The Family Care Act Passes Colorado State Legislature

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 19
Contact: Erin Bennett, 303-601-9510


In the 20th Anniversary year of FMLA, Colorado expands family leave with bipartisan support

DENVER, April 19, 2013 – The Colorado Family Care Act, HB13-1222, passed the Senate yesterday after having passed the House on March 25. The Family Care Act was sponsored by Representative Cherylin Peniston and Senator Jessie Ulibarri and received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

The Family Care Act was introduced in Colorado in the 20th anniversary year of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This federal legislation provides unpaid, job-protected leave for employees to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or seriously ill family member (child, spouse, or parent), or to recover from their own serious health conditions. While FMLA was historic in its passage and has supported millions of employees and families across the nation, it is limited in its coverage.

Many Coloradans provide care for additional family members but are currently not able to take job-protected leave under FMLA to provide that essential care. The Family Care Act is a first step in ensuring that employees are able to provide care to their family members without the risk of losing their job. The bill will allow FMLA-eligible employees in Colorado to use their leave to provide care for partners in a civil union and for domestic partners who are seriously ill and would greatly benefit from having a family member provide critical care. With the Colorado Civil Unions Act signed into law nearly one month ago, the Family Care Act allows partners in these committed relationships to have access to this much-needed workplace benefit.

“The Family Care Act is a vital complement to the Colorado Civil Unions Act. Family comes first, and taking care of your family is part of being in a loving, committed relationship. Civil unions isn’t only about rights, it’s about responsibilities for one another through sickness and health,” said Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, Senate Sponsor of the bill.

The Colorado State Senate passed the Family Care Act on third reading on April 18th. It passed in the House of Representatives with all Democrats and one Republican (Representative Stephens) supporting the bill, and in the Senate with the support of all Democrats and one Republican (Senator Roberts). The bill is now headed to Governor Hickenlooper’s desk for his signature.

“Colorado families look differently today than they did 20 years ago,” said Rep. Cherylin Peniston, House Sponsor of the bill. “With Civil Unions signed into law recently, it is only fitting we expand our family medical leave laws to reflect these Colorado families. This modest expansion will allow Coloradans’ jobs to be protected when they are faced with a serious illness of their significant other.”



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