Effective Jan. 1, 2022, Colorado (CO) requires employers with 15 or fewer employees to provide paid sick leave to employees. Larger employers were already subject to the requirement.
Accrual and Carryover:
Paid sick leave must accrue at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours. For employers with 15 or fewer employees, accrual begins when employment starts or Jan. 1, 2022, whichever is later. However, employers have the option of providing all the paid sick leave at the beginning of the year, a practice commonly known a frontloading.
Employees are entitled to carry over up to 48 hours of unused paid sick leave to the following year.
Note: Since Jan. 1, 2021, all CO employees have been entitled to paid public health emergency leave (PHEL) under state law. Employees may use PHEL until four weeks after the public health emergency ends. Since that date, the public health emergency declaration remains in effect. Therefore, employees still have however many of their 80 hours of PHEL they didn’t use in 2021.
Employees may use paid sick leave as it is accrued. The leave may be used for the following purposes:
- The employee's or a family member's mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition.
- The employee's or a family member's need for a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment related to an illness, injury, or condition.
- The employee or a family member 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:
- A public official has ordered the closure of the school or place of care of the employee's child or the employee's place of business due to a public health emergency.
Pay during leave:
The leave must be paid at least at the same rate the employee normally earns during worked hours.
Employee notice and documentation:
When the need for leave is foreseeable, the employee must make a good-faith effort to provide advance notice and schedule the leave so that it doesn't unduly disrupt the employer's operations. While employers may have a policy with reasonable procedures for providing notice when the need for leave is foreseeable, employers are prohibited from denying leave based on noncompliance with the policy.
For absences of four or more consecutive work days, employers may require reasonable documentation that the leave is for a covered purpose.
Employers must post a notice of workers' rights under the law and provide each employee with a direct "written notice" of their rights, the requirement can be satisfied by providing the Colorado Paid Leave & Whistleblower Poster.
The required poster and notice must be in English and any language that is the first language spoken by at least five percent of the employer's or principal's workforce.
Review your policies and practices to ensure compliance with paid sick leave requirements. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.