CDLE Says Separate Action Required for Public Health Emergency Supplemental Leave

The 2021 Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) requires employers with employees in Colorado to provide two types of leave to their employees: 1) paid sick leave and 2) supplemental leave on the day a public health emergency is declared. HFWA becomes effective for employers with 16 or more employees on January 1, 2021, and for all employers on January 1, 2022. This does not change the 2020 portion of HFWA that requires all employers, regardless of size, to comply with the Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA) through December, 31, 2020.

The burning question has been whether the current public health emergency automatically triggers HFWA’s requirement for employers to provide supplemental public health emergency leave on January 1, 2021. The CO Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) says no, not without separate action taken by the appropriate official or public agency.

Since that action could come at any time, employers covered next year should be prepared, by January 1, 2021, to provide the supplemental public health emergency leave. The current surge in COVID-19 cases and the end of paid sick leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) may cause the Governor or the CO Dept. of Public Health and Environment to trigger the supplemental leave at any point.

As a reminder, paid sick leave must be accrued or granted to all employees at a rate of 1 hour per 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. On the date a public health emergency is declared, employers must grant supplemental leave up to 80 hours for full-time employees and in a prorated amount for part-time employees. Employers can subtract the amount of paid sick leave an employee has already accrued when granting supplemental leave. For example, a full-time employee who has accrued 48 hours of paid sick leave on the day of a declared public health emergency would be granted supplemental leave of 32 hours for a total of 80 hours.

Contact Employers Council with your HFWA questions.