Colorado Sick Leave
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COLORADO EMPLOYERS FACE PAID SICK LEAVE OBLIGATIONS

Colorado Sick Leave

COLORADO EMPLOYERS FACE PAID SICK LEAVE OBLIGATIONS

COLORADO EMPLOYERS FACE PAID SICK LEAVE OBLIGATIONS FOR 2022

If you are a Colorado job creating employer brace yourself for another obligation. Hopefully that first payroll of 2022 has not been run yet!

Here’s the detail in 600 words – a 3 minute read and worth every minute – as you do NOT want to get caught in the trenches on this one.

As of January 1, 2022, all Colorado employers – regardless of the number of employees you have or where your employees constructively work – are subject to paid sick leave requirements.  If you had more than 16 employees you should have been providing this leave since January 1, 2021.

The details are spelled out in the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act.  A summary of the Bill can be read here. Bottom line –

  • All Colorado employers MUST provide paid sick leave to their employees, accrued at one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours.
  • An employee begins accruing paid sick leave when the employee’s employment begins.
  • Employees may use paid sick leave as it is accrued and may carry forward and use in subsequent calendar years paid sick leave that is not used in the year in which it is accrued.
  • Employees may use accrued paid sick leave to be absent from work for the following purposes:
    • The employee has mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; needs a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment related to such illness, injury, or condition; or needs to obtain preventive medical care;
    • The employee needs to care for a family member who has a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; needs a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment related to such illness, injury, or condition; or needs to obtain preventive medical care;
    • The employee or family member has been the victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or harassment and needs to be absent from work for purposes related to such crime; or
    • A public official has ordered the closure of the school or place of care of the employee’s child or of the employee’s place of business due to a public health emergency, necessitating the employee’s absence from work.
  • Some silver linings for employers
    • Employers who offer a more generous PTO, vacation, or sick leave policy (meaning providing at least 48 hours of sick leave), you do not need to provide additional leave.
      • But the accrual must be as generous as that required in the Act and be available immediately and for part-time employees.
      • Additionally, the PTO policy must provide notice to an employee that additional leave will not be provided as the PTO policy meets the requirements of HFWA.
    • Even though the Act refers to paid sick leave as “wages,” it specifically provides that unused paid sick leave need not be paid out at termination.
      • Any unused paid sick days must be reinstituted if the employee is rehired within six months of termination.
      • The paid sick leave also carries over to any successor employer which I have no idea how this can be tracked much less enforced.
    • Employers may require documentation from the employee if they take four or more consecutive paid sick days.

Public Health Emergency (PHE) Paid Sick Leave

  • In addition to the new paid sick leave law that just went into effect, all employers in Colorado have been obligated to provide public health emergency leave since January 1, 2021.
  • Under state law, all Colorado employers must provide this leave if there is a federal, state, or local declaration of emergency.
  • While our state declaration has been lifted, the federal declaration is currently still in place, and therefore the obligation to provide PHE leave is still currently in place.
  • PHE leave is a one-time leave obligation. If an employee used all of their supplemental PHE leave in 2021, they must rely on their accrued leave or take any additional COVID-19 leave unpaid.

For more on how COLORADO EMPLOYERS FACE PAID SICK LEAVE OBLIGATIONS FOR 2022 or any other Colorado tax law matters contact me today.



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