COVID-19 Update: Colorado HELP Rules, Arizona and Utah Declare States of Emergency

On March 10, 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared a State of Emergency in response to the increases in coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Colorado. On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) adopted the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (Colorado HELP) rules.

Colorado HELP requires employers to provide up to four days of paid sick leave for employees being tested for coronavirus COVID-19 in select industries.  These industries include:

  • leisure and hospitality;
  • food services;
  • child care;
  • education, including transportation, food service, and related work at educational establishments;
  • home health, if working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high-risk individuals and;
  • nursing homes and community living facilities.

The press release regarding HELP says, “the requirement is not on top of sick leave an employer already provides and does not cover wage replacement should an employee test positive and require quarantine resulting in lost work time and wages.” This means that if you already provide paid leave, you are not required to add four more days. It is to be assumed, however, that if an employee does not have enough time available, the employer should provide the necessary paid time.

Workers are covered regardless of pay rate or method (hourly, weekly, piece rate, etc.); the daily pay during leave is either their established daily rate or if their pay fluctuates, their average daily pay for the past month.

These rules will remain in effect for the longer of (a) 30 days after adoption, or (b) the duration of the State of Disaster Emergency declared by the Governor, up to a maximum of 120 days after adoption of these temporary rules.

This rule goes into effect immediately. If you have an employee who informs that they have been tested and are waiting on results, you should pay them for the time they would normally be scheduled to work. If you want to require proof of testing, you can do so, but know that a) doctors will be busy and slow to provide notes, and b) you will have to enforce the rule, adding more work to yourself and your staff. For more information, visit the web page dedicated to this rule.

Arizona governor Douglas Ducey declared a State of Emergency late in the afternoon March 11, 2020, after the ninth confirmed case of COVID-19 in the state. The declaration allows the state to coordinate resources statewide as needed. As of this writing, there are no additional rules or provisions under this State of Emergency. You can find the latest Arizona information here.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency on March 6, 2020. The order allows the state to have access to additional funding and resources to help slow the spread of coronavirus. You can find the latest Utah information here.

Employers Council is monitoring the rapidly changing situation and will keep you updated as we get new information. In the meantime, please see our latest hot topic on coronavirus and call us with questions.