DENVER (KDVR) — The City and County of Denver will offer its employees a new paid family leave program in 2023.

The “Care Bank” benefit was announced Monday after Denver City Council voted to opt out of the state’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance program, known as FAMLI. The state program will start collecting premiums in January but will not be available to Colorado employees until 2024.

Denver’s Office of Human Resources made the opt-out request to city council.

“When our city and county employees are faced with personal challenges, the Care Bank will provide an added level of financial and job security they so richly deserve and save them from paying into a benefit they may never need,” Office of Human Resources Executive Director Kathy Nesbitt said in a statement. “I am grateful to City Council for their partnership and supporting our city employees.”

Denver claims its program will offer “an enhanced benefit” compared to the state-run program. Employees will have up to eight weeks, or 320 hours, of 100% paid leave for qualifying personal or family care. The free benefit will be available to Denver employees starting on Jan. 1.

Denver says “a significant percentage” of its employees’ salaries exceed the maximum benefit paid through the state program. “The small number of city employees who could benefit more under the state FAMLI plan will have the choice to opt in,” a city news release reads.

Voters in November 2020 approved a proposition to create FAMLI. To use the benefit, employers and employees will have to pay a 0.9% premium for up to 12 weeks of leave. Employees using FAMLI will receive between 37% and 90% of their wages up to $1,100 weekly.

Denver outlined a number of scenarios to back its claim that the local program surpasses what the state’s will offer. In some scenarios, employees using FAMLI leave would still have to use some of their personal time or simply could not afford to take leave with reduced pay.

In Denver’s program, paid leave beyond eight weeks could also be covered by the city’s paid short-term disability program.

Local governments will be able to decide on whether to participate in FAMLI by Jan. 1.