Employers Look Toward Compliance With Paid Sick Leave Bill

by Jessica Folker

Gov. Jared Polis on July 14 signed the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, which requires Colorado employers to provide annual paid sick leave as well as paid leave for coronavirus-related absences.

Starting in 2021, employers with 16 or more employees are required to provide up to 48 hours of paid sick leave annually to workers, who begin accruing the sick leave upon employment at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked. Smaller employers will have until Jan. 1, 2022 to start providing paid sick leave.

Employees may use the paid sick leave as it accrues and may carry unused sick leave forward to future calendar years. The leave may be used to cover an employee’s own illness and treatment or for caretaking duties related to a family member’s illness or school closures due to a public health emergency. Employees can also use the leave to seek care or services if they or a family member have been the victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault or harassment.

The law’s coronavirus-specific provisions, effective immediately, require employers to provide paid sick leave through the end of 2020. The HFWA requires employers to offer paid leave to cover pandemic-related absences for the amount of time and reasons required under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. While EPSLA does not cover private employers with 500 or more employees, Colorado employers of all sizes must comply with the COVID-19 provisions of the HFWA.

EPSLA gives full-time employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for those unable to work because they are sick or quarantined due to COVID-19, caring for a sick or quarantined person or caring for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed due to the pandemic. Under EPSLA, part-time employees are covered for the number of hours they would normally work in a two-week period.

The full version of this article appears in the July 27 issue of Law Week Colorado. To read other complete articles from that issue, order a copy online. zp-pdl.com