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On July 14, 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law the Healthy Family and Workplaces Act (Senate Bill 205), requiring employers in Colorado to begin accruing at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours total. This new law requirement goes into effect for employers with 16 or more employees on January 1, 2021, and for all other covered employers (regardless of how many employees they employ) on January 1, 2022.

The law permits use of paid sick leave hours immediately, for personal employee illness or medical appointments including well visits, to care for family members, for leave associated with certain domestic abuse or sexual assault issues, and includes mental health.

The law applies to hourly, salaried, exempt, non-exempt, and even seasonal employees, mandates only limited notice and documentation requirements for sick leave requests, prohibits retaliation against employees requesting sick leave (including any reduction in pay or discipline for requesting or taking sick leave), and requires posted notices, imposes specific record-keeping requirements.

The law does not require accrued, unused sick leave hours be paid out upon separation.

A rehire provision mandates that employees who separate and are rehired must be given the bank of hours they had upon separation.

Numerous questions await clarification from the CDLE, such as:

1. Does my PTO policy comply with this new leave law?

2. If my company offers PTO and pays out accrued and unused balances upon separation, and an employee is rehired, how would I know what balance I must give them if they are rehired?

Now is the time to contemplate policy changes that will comply with the new law. As we hear more from the CDLE, we will reach out to each of our clients to ensure they are in compliance with the Healthy Family and Workplaces Act. Our software system is fully able to handle this paid sick leave mandate and has been doing so for many clients with employees who work in states with a similar paid sick leave requirement.