Last Friday Governor John Hickenlooper signed the Colorado Family Care Act, HB 13-1222. The Act expands the group of family members that employees can take family leave to care for to include parties to civil unions and domestic partners. Domestic partners are those with a registered domestic partnership with the state or recognized by the employer as domestic partners. Parties to a civil union are those registered under the Colorado Civil Unions Act, which took effect on May 1.
The Act covers employers who fall under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employees are eligible for leave if they meet the eligibility requirements under the FMLA. Eligible employees will be able to take 12 weeks of leave to care for their civil union or domestic partners with serious health conditions. This leave will not count against the employee’s entitlement to federal FMLA leave because partners in civil unions and domestic partners are not considered spouses under the FMLA. So employees taking leave for this purpose may still have 12 weeks of FMLA remaining for any FMLA-qualifying reason.
The Act will go into effect 90 days after the end of the current legislative session. Assuming the session ends as scheduled this Wednesday, the effective date will be August 7, 2013. If, however, a referendum petition is filed against the Act or a section of the Act, the Act or that section will not take effect unless approved by voters in the November 2014 general election.
Look for more details on this Act upcoming in our June Bulletin.