Family Journeys

How FAMLI has helped Colorado Workers

Colorado's Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Division would like to hear your personal stories. These stories are written by Colorado workers who have lived these experiences. Please share with us how FAMLI leave helped you or your family using our Share your Story form.

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Marie in Northern Colorado

Military Family Members (Exigency) Leave

I work as a special education teacher in northern Colorado and I am a member of the National Guard. I recently lost 2 soldiers within my unit, within 4 months of each, along with my grandmother. The most recent loss occurred in early January, and was one of my dearest friends who had fought against alcoholism for years. I, along with several others in my unit, spent countless hours over the last 6 years keeping our friend alive, supporting him through rehab, sobriety, relapse, etc. We never leave a fallen comrade. His loss devastated me. After his funeral, I fell apart and struggled to complete the most basic tasks at home and work.

Along with all this, my husband, who is also in the guard, was preparing for his own deployment. I struggled even more, knowing I could be receiving that folded flag, instead of his return. So, I took a leave of absence to take care of myself, to heal my wounded heart, and to hug my husband a million times before his deployment. I knew I needed to step back and repair my own mental health in order to show up for my students everyday in the way they need me to.

As an employee of a local government employer who opted out-of-paid leave, this option was not immediately available to me—however, due to the set-up of the FAMLI Program, I could retroactively pay the previous quarter at a very affordable rate and begin receiving income replacement immediately. Taking an extended leave of absence to take care of myself, my family, and be as prepared as possible for my partner's deployment was critical, not just for my sake, but for his as well. My spouse needed to be able to go on deployment and focus on the mission, and not be constantly worried about my mental health back home.

Without the partial income replacement provided through FAMLI, I would not have been able to take the extended leave necessary to attend therapy, take care of myself, get our legal matters in order, and attend all the briefings, events, and ceremonies, including his promotion.

The FAMLI benefit was a literal lifesaver to me, my family, and our future at a time when I couldn't see hope, and was stuck in a cycle of grief and fear. I will always recommend that individuals who are employees of opted-out local government, opt themselves into FAMLI. This benefit is immeasurable in the access to family and self care it provides, and the stability of income necessary for thriving families.

I also want to thank the support staff who answered my calls when I had questions about filling out the application and submitting my paperwork correctly. They were confident, knowledgeable, and so compassionate in helping me get my application in correctly for my best benefit. 


Marissa in Colorado

Medical Leave to Care for oneself   

I have multiple sclerosis. Working a full time job always makes my MS flare up, not to mention getting sick from CO workers. Recently I caught a virus and it put me in the hospital with an MS flare. Losing the ability to stand or walk. I had to take time off from work.

I applied for FAMLI because my bills don't stop and I have to sometimes pay for rides to doctor appointments as I'm not able to drive right now. FAMLI has given me some relief in being able to pay some of my bills, get rides, and food.

Very grateful for this service.

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Smiling mother holds a baby wearing a protective helmet

Kallie in Denver area

Parental Bonding Leave

My daughter Quinn was diagnosed with Torticollis at 8 weeks old in 2023. After completing my FMLA leave in 2023, it was very difficult to work around a full-time work schedule and continue to provide her the same level of therapy that she needed to overcome her diagnosis. As a full-time working mom, I wanted to be able to attend her weekly therapy appointments and ensure she was receiving all of her daily exercises to help her improve and meet her developmental goals. I was very thankful for the new FAMLI leave program as it allowed me to take time with my infant so I could be present for all of her appointments, and receive the additional bonding time to help her reach her goals as she overcomes some developmental delays. The FAMLI program stipend was critical during this time as it eased the financial burden on our family while I took this critical time to help our daughter.