Effective Immediately: Required Paid Sick Leave for Colorado Employers
On March 11, 2020, Colorado adopted Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (HELP) Rules to assist employees in certain industries who may be ill or need testing for COVID-19. These rules are to encourage employees to avoid work and be tested which will assist in limiting the spread of the virus. Employees, especially in these specified industries, pose a serious threat to the health and safety of the community if coming to work ill. The rules have been put in place to protect “the welfare of the state of Colorado” as well as assist in providing financial resources to these individuals. The rules will remain in place for 30 days or possibly longer if the state of Emergency continues as declared by Governor Polis.
The rules require, for employers who do not already provide this in their regular policies and procedures, four (4) days of paid sick leave for employees with flu-like symptoms who are being tested for COVID-19. If an employee has already exhausted their paid time off (PTO) or paid sick yet currently shows symptoms and is being tested, the employer must pay additional time off up to 4 days.
Covered industries include:
Leisure and Hospitality
Education (including transportation, food service, and other related workers at educational facilities)
Home Health if working with elderly, disabled, ill, or other high-risk individuals
Community Living Facilities
The Colorado Division of Labor and Employment (CDLE) is continuing to consider additional support including access to Unemployment Insurance to support workers who are unable and should not return to work due to illness.
These workers should be paid their average rate and amount of pay for the preceding month. The paid sick leave may end if the employee receives a negative COVID-19 test result.
If you’d like additional tips on how to help your workplace during this time of heightened caution, see our article, Preparing your workplace for the coronavirus (COVID-19)
For employers with 50 or more employees, additional FMLA guidance has been issued and is available from the DOL.
Parting thoughts from CO Governor, Jared Polis, “People want to do right by their fellow Coloradans and stay home when they are ill. But they shouldn’t be forced between doing what’s best for our community or missing rent. I am asking the entire private sector of Colorado to voluntarily offer paid sick leave pending Coronavirus testing results so that we can collectively do our part to contain the spread of the virus.”
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