Denver voters reject sick leave bill


Denver voters on Tuesday shot down a proposal to require employers to offer paid sick leave after weeks of divisive debate that pitted business owners against their workers.

Known as Initiative 300, the paid sick leave mandate was on a ballot initiative on which 104,217 people voted. Of those, 36 percent, or 37,498 voters said yes, while 64 percent, or 66,719, rejected the measure.

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Supporters of the proposal, including a coalition group called the Campaign for Healthy Denver, blamed the loss on “big business lobbyists crying wolf” about the impact a paid sick leave mandate might have on small business.

“The people of Denver lost today — people like home health care nurse Patricia Hughes, who was fired after calling in sick with pneumonia; Mandie Freyta, a Latina mother who lost a week’s wages because she stayed home with her four children when they had the flu; and people like barista Laura Baker and bartender Eric Love, who have gone to work sick because they need to work every hour they can just to make the rent,” said Erin Bennett, spokesperson for the Campaign for Healthy Denver.

“The people of Denver were unable to overcome the money and power of big business interests, from the National Restaurant Association and other lobbyist groups who are part of a larger national corporate agenda designed to stop paid sick days,” Bennett said.