GUEST COLUMN: Family and Medical Leave Insurance is a solution for everyone (March 22, 2015)

Erin Bennett, Colorado Springs Gazette

The Gazette editorial “Paid leave mandate would kill jobs” is not only a gross mischaracterization of the reality facing low-wage workers, the piece is full of factual errors about the FAMLI Act (Family and Medical Leave Insurance) in Colorado and the movement for paid family leave across the country.

Virtually all of us have a seriously ill relative or a new baby to care for at some point, yet almost nine out of 10 Coloradans don’t have any form of paid family leave to fulfill these basic family responsibilities. The FAMLI Act (HB 1258) creates an employee-funded family and medical leave insurance program, allowing employees to receive wage replacement when they need to care for themselves or a seriously ill family member, or welcome a new baby to their family. This bill will ensure that no one in our state has to jeopardize their current financial stability or their future economic security in times of family crisis.

Shelby Ramirez, a 9to5 Colorado activist, works full time as a hotel security guard. When her younger daughter needed surgery at the same time her parent needed immediate medical attention, Shelby was able to take time to care for them, thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act - the only federal law designed to help working people meet the dual demands of job and family. But that time was unpaid.

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