Business groups show up at Colorado Capitol to oppose paid family leave

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DENVER — Dozens of business groups are testifying at the Colorado State Capitol Tuesday over the proposed paid family leave law.

Among those in opposition are the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, the Denver Metro Chamber, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Colorado Farm Bureau and the Colorado Hospital Association.

Under the paid family leave proposal, employers and employees would contribute .32 percent each to the state family leave fund.

Eligible employees would then be able to receive up to 12 weeks paid time off in the event of a childbirth or family illness. Benefits would be capped at $1,000 a week.

“It is an added expense for the smallest of the smallest businesses,” said Tony Gagliardi, the executive director of Colorado’s NFIB.

Also testifying Tuesday are local government leaders upset with the proposal.

“The money will have to come from somewhere,” said Holly Williams, an El Paso County commissioner.

Williams says the county and many others will struggle to pay for the benefit.

“We are going to have to take it away from public safety and our roads,” Williams said.

However, other businesses stood up in support of the proposal Tuesday.

“I think it is a great recruitment tool,” said Judy Amabile, a business owner who helps produce Polar Bottles water bottles.

Amabile says a small company like hers could never have offered a perk like 12 weeks paid time off.

“For a company like ours, it is an incredible deal,” Amabile said.

Testimony on the measure is expected to last all night.

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