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Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center. Dan Smith photo.

In a special session Wednesday, Jan. 11, the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC) board voted to opt out of implementing the Colorado Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program for employees in the hospital district.

The program, approved by voters in 2020, establishes up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave and additional pregnancy leave for most workers, paid jointly by workers and employers at a rate of of just under one percent of a workers wage; .45 percent for each.

Benefits would not be payable to workers until 2024, but employers will still have to collect the fees through the year unless they opt out.

Businesses were required to inform the new division of the decision to opt out by Jan. 1, and all local governments were required to register with the Division in My FAMLI+ Employer even if they have voted to opt out.

Several towns , including Aspen and Eagle and some hospital districts have moved to opt out, as has Chaffee County government. HRRMC cited the established federal Family and Medical Leave Act it utilizes for the decision.

The new statute still allows employees who want the family and medical leave insurance to opt in in 2024, paying with just their share and forwarding it to the new division.

The board members present, including chairman Jeff Post, Dean Edwards, Bill Alderton and Dr. Lydia Segal, voted unanimously to opt out of the state program. Member Susan Dunn was absent.

(Editor’s note: This story was filed late due to HRRMC inadvertently neglecting to inform Ark Valley Voice of this special meeting.)