COVID-19 paid sick leave required through May

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado rules requiring two weeks of paid sick leave for COVID-19 will continue through at least May, but no longer apply to other respiratory illnesses like the flu and RSV.

The benefit known as public health emergency leave, or PHE leave, requires all employers to provide 80 hours of paid sick leave for COVID-19 cases and related needs.

As of November 11, the provision also applies out for flu, respiratory syncytial virus and other similar respiratory illnesses, but that ended on January 8th. according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Depending on the state, PHE licensing requirements for COVID-19 will remain in effect while a federal or state public health emergency is declared. It will end four weeks after all public health emergency declarations end.

For now, that means PHE’s license remains in effect for COVID-19 through at least May, the state said.

When can employees use the PHE leave in Colorado?

Employees can use PHE leave for a number of situations related to COVID-19, not just a confirmed case:

  • COVID symptoms, such as fever or chills, cough, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • Quarantine or isolate due to exposure
  • covid test
  • Vaccination and its side effects.
  • Inability to work due to health conditions that may increase susceptibility or risk of COVID
  • Family care needs (illness, school closure, etc.)

There are also restrictions on what employers can ask their employees when they take leave from PHE.

“Employers may not require documentation from employees to show that the leave is for PHE-related needs,” according to CDLE.

The state said the PHE licensing rules apply to all Colorado employers, regardless of size or industry. Part-time employees are also eligible for the benefit, but are not covered for as many hours.

Employers must pay the benefit at the same rate the employee earns and it must be paid on time, according to the CDLE. Nor “may it be counted against employees as absences that may lead to dismissal or other negative action.”

Accrued Paid Sick Leave in Colorado

PHE leave must be available in addition to the paid sick leave that Colorado employers must provide: one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, depending on the state. That rule has been in place since 2021 and is permanent.

Accumulated paid sick leave can be used for a number of reasons:

  • Any mental or physical illness, injury or health condition that prevents work
  • Diagnosis, care or treatment of such conditions.
  • Preventive care (including vaccination)
  • Needs for suffering domestic violence, sexual abuse or criminal harassment, or caring for family members with such conditions or needs

Unlike PHE leave, employers can request documentation for accrued paid sick leave, “but only for absences of four or more consecutive days, and employees can provide documentation after the leave ends,” CDLE said. .

Paid sick leave rules are established under the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act.


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