Sick? In Colorado You Might Qualify for Paid Time Off
Colorado implemented a new law this year that protects most workers from missing pay if they need to take some sick time.
According to a press release from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, effective January 1, 2021, the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) requires employers to provide two types of leave: public health emergency leave and accrued leave.
What is the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act in Colorado?
Due to the pandemic, Colorado, along with the rest of the United States, saw workers struggle to take time off due to illness.
Many factors played a role in the problems with taking time off, but one of the most prominent ones was the issue of paid time off. Times are hard and budgets are tight, so employees who became ill and had to take unpaid time off were faced with financial struggles.
In an effort to ease this financial burden from employees, the Healthy Families and Workplaces act was created.
Last year employers with 15 or fewer employees had to provide emergency leave but were exempt from accrued leave until the end of 2021. This year things have gotten even better.
Colorado's Healthy Families and Workplaces Act Updated in 2022
Now that 2022 has arrived, small and large employers alike have the same accrued leave responsibilities.
Public health emergency leave
WHAT: Two weeks of paid leave (80 hours if full-time, less if part-time) for COVID-19 related needs. This requirement took effect July 14, 2020, and remains in effect.
WHAT: One hour of paid leave per 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. This requirement took effect January 1, 2021, and is permanently in effect, not just during the COVID emergency.
Which Colorado Employees Qualify for Paid Sick Leave?
Effective January 1, 2022, no employers — public or private, and any size or industry — are exempt (other than the federal government), and no employees are exempt either (other than some railroad employees).
Paid leave in a PTO policy, or a Collective Bargaining Agreement, can satisfy HFWA, if it covers all the same conditions or needs, at the same pay rate, and with no tougher requirements (documentation, notice, etc.) than HFWA.
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