The Healthy Families and Workplaces Act was signed by Gov. Jared Polis on July 15 to allow for COVID-19 related leave. The remainder of the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act requiring paid sick leave for any health conditions and other issues will start January 1, 2021, for public and private employers with 16 or more employees.
According to the Employers Council, the act provides that:
• Employers must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked by an employee, capped at 48 hours of paid sick leave per year.
• Part-time employees must be covered based on the number of hours they work.
• Employers must allow employees to carry over up to 48 hours of sick leave into the next year, but they are not required to pay unused sick leave upon termination.
• Employers may provide more paid sick leave than the act requires but are not required to allow employees to accrue more than 48 hours per year.
Employers must permit employees to use their accrued sick leave on request under specified conditions. These include mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition that prevents the employee from working; seeking a doctor’s care; preventive medical care; medical attention, victim services, or mental health or legal services as a result of domestic abuse, harassment, or sexual harassment. Accrued sick leave also can be used if the employee must care for a family member because of a specified condition or needs to provide child care if schools or businesses are closed due to a public health emergency.
In case of a declared public health emergency, employers must add to employees’ accrued sick leave so that full-time employees can take at least 80 hours of sick leave. For employees who normally work fewer than 40 hours a week, they must be allowed to take either the amount of time they are scheduled to work in a 14-day period or the average time they work in a 14-day period, whichever is greater.
For employers with paid time off policies, they must now make certain that those policies comply with the Act. Additionally, of note to employers, if Colorado declares another public health emergency due to COVID-19 on January 1, 2021, that 80 hours will begin again. Employers will need to keep detailed records for every employee who takes time off and keep these records for two years even if the employee is terminated.
Under the Act, employers are required to provide written notice of the Act to all their employees. This can be accomplished through an employee handbook as well as state-created posters.
How Do You Prepare Your Business for Colorado’s New Paid Sick Leave Act?
- Review all of your current policies and procedures;
- Update your employee handbook;
- Post state posters in your place of business; and
- Keep detailed records for at least two years.