Businesses weren’t offered the opportunity to opt out of the state’s family and medical leave fund that takes a chunk of employee paychecks in case they need to take paid time off to care for themselves, a new baby or sick family member.

But local governments do have a choice, and they are opting out of that expensive mess in droves.

The Colorado Sun reports an overwhelming 80% are skipping out on the fund, claiming they already do or can do better, for cheaper.

Some cities say employees are welcome to participate on their own dime, so long as they want to cover their own premiums.

Denver taxpayers would have been on the hook for $10 million in annual premium payments, plus the cost of hiring more city workers to shuffle the paperwork.

So Denver is a no go, along with Lakewood that turned down premiums costing $750,000, and Colorado Springs closed the door on nearly $2 million in premiums.

Aurora didn’t need it because workers can accrue their paid leave without having to pay $400 a year into the state fund, plus they already have disability benefits.

As the March 31 deadline approaches for local government to file their paperwork and abandon the mandatory system, the Sun questioned whether the fund could remain solvent with just the businesses that have no choice in the matter.

… Even if 100% of local governments opt out, the fund will still be solvent in 10 years, but with a pool of money 9.4% lower. The fund is expected to have a balance of $1.4 billion by the end of next year with contributions aligning with payouts through 2028. Local governments represent 9% of employees in Colorado.

Wow. That’s an awfully big slushy fund.

Someone in state government’s bound to be getting a newly redecorated office with all new furniture, and a travel budget to conferences in the best exotic locations.