As it Relates to Sick Leave

In July, 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a new Act into law: The Healthy Families and Workplaces Act  (‘the Act’). This Act will require employers in Colorado to provide employees with up to six paid sick days a year, depending on the number of hours worked, or possibly more in the event of a public health emergency, starting in 2021. The Act extends immediate COVID-related paid sick leave protections to employees not covered by the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). Colorado was the thirteenth state to pass and implement statewide paid sick laws.

Effective as of July 2020

For the remainder of 2020, The Act will fill a number of coverage gaps in the federal FFCRA, which makes paid sick leave available to certain employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but only applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees. In addition, Paid sick leave coverage equivalent to that provided under the FFCRA, would be extented, regardless of employer size.

The Act will fill a number of coverage gaps in the federal FFCRA, which makes paid sick leave available to certain employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Beginning January 1, 2021

At the start of 2021, any employer with more than 15 employees will be required to provide employees with paid sick leave to be used for: a need for diagnosis or treatment, preventative care, physical and/or mental illnesses; victims looking for care due to harassment, domestic violence, or sexual abuse; caring for sick family members; or instances where an employee must provide care to a child after the closure of the child’s school or a public health official has ordered the closure of the employee’s place of business due to a public health emergency. Starting January 1, 2022, smaller employers will also begin to be covered under the Act.

Under the Act, covered employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours, which is equivalent to six eight-hour workdays. The paid sick time can be rolled over if not used, with the caveat that the employer can limit it to within each calendar year. Alternatively, Employers can elect to provide its employees the full six days of paid sick leave at the beginning of each year.

Employers have the option of allowing employees to use paid sick leave in smaller increments than an hour, however, hourly increments are what is required by the Act. Employers can request documentation for sick leave that is taken for four or more consecutive days in order to verify that the paid sick leave is for a purpose that is authorized by the Act. Upon employee resignation, termination or retirement, the employer is not required to pay out unused paid sick leave.  Employers must post notices or other forms of communication that inform employees about their rights under the Act and they are also required to document and track sick time that is accrued and used.

Supplemental Public Health Emergency Sick Leave

The supplemental public health emergency sick leave may be used by employees up to four weeks after the official termination or suspension of the public health emergency for the following scenarios:

  • Self-isolation due to a positive diagnosis, symptoms, and/or seeking preventative care or medical treatment with respect to the illness;
  • Suffers from a preexisting condition that would put the employee at risk of serious harm if infected with the illness;
  • If the employer or public health officials have determined that it would be unsafe for the employee to return to work;
  • When caring for a family member that has been affected in the above ways or a child’s school has been shut down due to the public health emergency.

Documentation would not be required from employees for the supplemental paid sick leave.

If you are an employer in Colorado, you should be reviewing your policies regarding paid sick leave and make the necessary revisions in order to comply with the new Act. If you need assistance with revising your policies or you have questions, please contact us.