The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has published an emergency rule that temporarily requires employers in certain industries to provide paid sick leave to employees for certain COVID-19 related purposes. Employees may be entitled to leave if they have flu-like symptoms or other respiratory illness symptoms and are being tested for COVID-19 or if they are under instruction from a health care provider or government official to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19.
The emergency rule, as amended, took effect immediately on April 27, 2020 and will remain in effect for 30 days, or longer if the state of emergency declared by the governor continues.
The emergency rule requires employers in the following industries to provide paid sick leave to employees:
- Leisure and hospitality;
- Food services;
- Child care;
- Education (including transportation, food service, and related work at educational establishments);
- Home health care, if working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high-risk individuals;
- Nursing homes and community living facilities;
- Retail establishments that sell groceries (as of March 26, 2020);
- Food and beverage manufacturing (as of April 3, 2020);
- Retail establishments (as of April 27, 2020);
- Real estate sales and leasing (as of April 27, 2020);
- Offices and office work (as of April 27, 2020);
- Elective health services (as of April 27, 2020); and
- Personal care services, such hair, beauty, spas, massage, tattoos, pet care, or substantially similar services (as of April 27, 2020).
Amendments of March 26, 2020:
Under amendments published on March 26, 2020, the CDLE extended the paid sick leave requirement to also cover retail establishments that sell groceries. The amendments also require all covered employers to provide paid sick leave to an employee who is under instructions from a healthcare provider to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19.
Amendments of April 3, 2020:
Under amendments published on April 3, 2020, the CDLE extended the paid sick leave requirement to also cover the food and beverage manufacturing industry.
Amendments of April 27, 2020:
Under amendments published on April 27,2020, the CDLE extended the paid sick leave requirement to include additional covered industries (see above). Additionally, the amount of leave that must be provided increased from a maximum of four days to a maximum of two weeks, the amount of pay required during leave decreased from full pay to 2/3 pay, and coverage expanded to other respiratory illness symptoms and those who are under instructions from a government official to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19.
Basic Leave Entitlement:
Effective April 27, 2020, covered employers must provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave to employees who have flu-like or other respiratory illness symptoms and are being tested for COVID-19 or are under instructions from a healthcare provider or government official to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19. The paid sick leave ends if the employee receives a negative COVID-19 test result after being fever-free for 72 hours, with other symptoms resolving as well. The leave must be at least seven calendar days (or ten calendar days for health care workers covered by the rules).
Employers are prohibited from terminating an employee for inability to provide documentation during an illness covered by the rule. See the text of the rule for details on documentation rules.
Interaction with Other Leave Policies:
If an employer already provides the paid leave necessary to meet the rule's requirements, the employer isn't required to provide additional leave. However, if an employee has already exhausted their paid leave allotment, and subsequently needs to take leave for covered COVID-19 purposes, they are entitled to the additional paid sick leave the emergency rule provides.
Pay During Leave:
Effective April 27, 2020, pay must be provided at 2/3 the employee's regular rate of pay.
Covered employers should read the amended emergency rule and CDLE guidance in full and ensure compliance. Employers should also encourage employees who experience flu-like symptoms to remain out of the workplace and contact their health provider immediately.
Note: Effective April 1, 2020, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide paid leave to employees impacted by COVID-19 and provide tax credits to employers that do. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.