What You Need to Know About Colorado Sick Leave Laws

If you are just starting a business or are curious about the updated employment laws in your state, you might find yourself searching for a guide to Colorado’s sick leave laws. Here’s everything you need to know about Colorado’s sick leave laws.

Colorado has laws in place that allow employees to receive paid sick leave during the work year. Depending on the employer, this sick leave may accrue over time. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Colorado has expanded their sick leave laws.

Sick Leave in Colorado

As stated in the Colorado General Assembly under SB 20-205, employers must provide sick leave to employees based on COVID-19 pandemic-related conditions. As of January 2022, all employers must provide sick leave to their employees accrued at one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 48 hours of paid leave per year. The Healthy Families and Workplaces Act outlines this policy.

The accrual of paid sick leave starts immediately upon employment and carries forward to subsequent calendar years. However, employers are not required to allow employees to use more than 48 hours of paid sick leave every year.

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There are certain conditions under which an employee may choose to use their paid sick leave as outlined below:

  • To treat or diagnose a mental or physical illness or injury
  • To obtain preventive medical care;
  • To care for a family member who has a mental or physical illness or injury or needs to obtain preventive medical care;
  • If an 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;
  • If a public official has ordered the closure of the school or place of care of the employee’s child; or
  • If there is a closure of an employee’s place of business due to a public health emergency, necessitating the employee’s absence from work.

If there are further public health emergencies that require an employee to take sick leave, the employer must provide additional hours alongside the 48 hours/year based on the hours the employee worked. This act prohibits the employer from retaliating against an employee exercising their right to a paid sick leave in the pandemic and other current public health crises.

Employers must notify their employees of their rights through written notice and a poster supplied by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

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This department implements and enforces sick leave provisions. Any employer violating this act is liable to pay employees back damages and other equitable damages for mental, physical, and emotional stress. The bill also requires that all employee information regarding mental health conditions, domestic abuse, sexual assault, or harassment be treated as confidential. Colorado does not require employees to disclose personal details to use sick leave.

This bill, alongside the Colorado Health Families and Workplace Act, ensures employers cannot count sick leave against employees for firing or other negative actions.

Employers must distribute leave at the same hourly rate or salary and with the same benefits as the employee’s working wage. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment also states that employers must pay employees their leave on the same schedule as their regular wages.

The Colorado Health Families and Workplace Act requires employers to grant employees working 40 or more hours a week a total of 80 hours per year of sick leave. Employers must pay these hours at a rate of 1.5 times their regular salary.

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If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Colorado Sick Leave Laws, get connected to an attorney with one of our  in Colorado today!