Colorado’s Health Families and Workplaces Act
On July 14, 2020, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed SB20-205, known as the “Healthy Families and Workplaces Act”
Highlights of Healthy Families And Workplaces Act (HFWA):
1. Companies with 16+ employees will begin accruing 1 hour per 30 hours worked on January 1, 2021, or the first day of employment, whichever is later.
An employee begins accruing paid sick leave when the employee's employment begins. The employee may use paid sick leave as it is accrued and may carry forward and use in subsequent calendar years up to 48 hours of paid sick leave.
2. Employees may accrue up to 48 hours of sick leave per calendar year
Sick leave that is not used in the year in which it is accrued can be carried forward to the next year. An employer is not required to allow the employee to use more than 48 hours of paid sick leave in a year.
The Act makes it clear that no monetary or financial payout for unused paid sick leave is required. Therefore, if an employee resigns or is terminated, the leave is simply lost.
In cases of a public health emergency, the paid sick leave for employees converts to the rates and standards like those found within EPSLA and COVID-19 paid sick leave, such as 80 hours of unpaid leave for employees. Thus, in times of public health emergencies, the Act will extend paid sick leave and related paid leave to levels similar to the leave mandated by the Federal/State agencies.
3. Employers with 15 or less employees will have to comply with the HFWA on January 1, 2022.
4. Employees may only begin using Colorado paid sick leave on January 1, 2021.
Employees may use accrued paid sick leave to be absent from work for the following purposes:
The employee 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 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.
5. Employers are not required to provide additional sick leave if the employer previously implemented a sick leave or paid time off policy that satisfies the requirements of the law.
If a Colorado employer already has paid sick leave, or some variation of a paid leave policy, that adheres to the requirements under the Act, no additional paid sick leave is required. Employers are encouraged to review their policies with their employment law counsel to determine if they already have a paid leave policy to satisfy the Act.
The Act requires that an employer retain paid sick leave records for each employee for a two-year period, “documenting hours worked, paid sick leave accrued, and paid sick leave used.” The employer may be required to provide those records, upon proper notice, to the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics.