Colorado Paid Leave Obligations Continue Under Public Health Emergency

July 26, 2022

In addition to the new Paid Sick Leave Law that went into effect in January 2022, all employers in Colorado have also 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. Even though the state declaration of an emergency has been lifted, the federal public health emergency is still in place, and therefore so is the obligation to provide leave.  

Recently, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra extended the public health emergency declaration effective July 15, 2022, through at least October 13, 2022. Under Colorado’s Healthy Workplaces and Families Act (HFWA), paid leave for COVID-19 circumstances must be provided for the duration of the public health emergency, and for an additional four weeks after the public health emergency expires, unless an employee has already exhausted his public health emergency leave balance. 

As a reminder, employees are allowed two weeks (up to 80 hours) total of paid sick leave to care for themselves or family members due to a COVID-related illness. Employees do not have to use it all at once. For example, if they used 40 hours of leave in 2021, they have 40 hours remaining until the end of the public health emergency period.

Employers should make sure they have updated their Paid Leave and COMPS posters and are providing COMPS Order #38 to employees with any handbook updates. The Paid Leave poster and notice provides employees with a written notice of their rights under HFWA. Employers should ensure policies are up to date.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s HFWA page contains a notice as to whether paid COVID-19 leave remains in effect. 

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