By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff
Beginning January 1, employers with more than 15 employees will be required to provide up to 48 hours of paid leave and may have to supplement accrued leave for pandemic purposes.
On July 14, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law legislation that gives workers in the state the right to paid sick leave, including for COVID-19-related reasons. The coronavirus paid leave, which extends through December 31, 2020, must be provided for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the amounts and for the purposes specified in the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act that is part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
On January 1, 2021, however, the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (S.B. 20-205) will require employers in Colorado with more than 15 employees to provide paid sick leave to employees for other reasons, accrued at the rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours.
Public health emergency leave. Starting in 2021, the Act also provides permanent public health emergency leave. The law will require that employers in the state supplement employees’ accrued paid sick leave as needed to make sure that for public health emergency purposes, employees who normally work 40 or more hours per week have at least 80 hours of paid leave. Employers likewise must supplement the accrued leave of employees who work fewer than 40 hours weekly so they may take paid leave for at least the average number of hours they are scheduled to work in a 14-day period, or the average number actually worked in a 14 day period, whichever is greater.
The Act specifies the purposes for which this emergency paid leave may be used, including to self-isolate or care for oneself or a family member due to the diagnosis of communicable illness that is the cause of a public emergency, and to obtain a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment if experiencing such an illness. The paid leave may also be used, among other things, to care for a child whose place of child care or child care provider is unavailable due to the public health emergency.
Regular paid sick leave. Under the Act’s regular paid sick leave provisions, employees may use accrued leave for these purposes:
- The employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; need for a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment related to such illness, injury, or condition; or need to obtain preventive medical care.
- The employee’s need to care for a family member who has a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; the family member’s need for a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment related to such illness, injury, or condition; or the family member’s need 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.
- 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.
Other provisions. Among other things, the Act includes confidentiality, anti-retaliation, record keeping, and notice-posting requirements.
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