Colorado lawmakers focus on essential workers amid coronavirus, push to make paid sick leave a right for all
Much like the debate on broader paid family leave earlier this session, Colorado business owners and organizations are opposed to new mandates
To lift public health restrictions and reopen Colorado, Democratic lawmakers say the first step is to protect essential workers like Mirja McDade in the retail and service industries.
McDade’s past jobs in the restaurant industry didn’t include paid sick time, so she worked regardless of her health. “The food industry is probably the worst as far as paid time off or paid sick leave,” she said.
In the era of COVID-19, that’s a dangerous situation — and it’s driving new legislation at the Capitol that would require all companies to provide paid sick leave to employees.
“This is a direct response to what we are seeing in this current pandemic. It is about making sure that you don’t get a burger, fries and a side of COVID when you are at a restaurant,” said Sen. Jeff Bridges, a Greenwood Village Democrat and bill sponsor. “And more importantly, it’s about making sure that when we are not in a pandemic, you don’t get a burger, fries and a side of flu or something like that.”
The bill is a key component of the Democratic-led General Assembly’s new agenda in the coronavirus-shortened legislative session that party leaders say is “focused primarily on the health and safety of getting people back to work in a responsible way.”
“As people are able to return to work, as consumers and individuals feel more confident to go shopping and to leave their home, that means the faster the state is actually going to recover and get on its feet,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, another bill sponsor.
Click here to read the rest of the story from the Colorado Sun.
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