Deadline Approaching: Update Sick and Leave Time Policy

Deadline to Update Sick and Leave Time Policy is Approaching

As we reported in an earlier eNews release, which can be found HERE, the Governor signed the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act on July 14, 2020. The Act goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

Starting January 1, 2021, this new sick leave law applies to all employers in Colorado, except the Federal Government. The accrual of paid sick leave portion of the law goes into effect for employers with 16 or more employees on January 1, 2021. All employers are impacted starting on January 1, 2022 regardless of employee count.

The law states that an employer can satisfy the requirements of this law if the employer already has a policy that meets or exceeds the requirements of this law. Since there is no state law requiring paid vacation, if a company has any existing PTO policy (including vacation) that exceeds the new minimum requirements, then they are in compliance with these new rules and do not need a separate sick policy.  However if you maintain separate sick and vacation banks for employees, the sick bank policy must comply with the 48 hour sick leave rule. Our interpretation of the policy is that if an employee uses all their PTO and later becomes sick, the employer does not need to provide additional paid time off. This is a new law, so we may receive more specific guidance or clarification on this in the future.

The law requires covered employees to be provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked by the employee, capping at 48 hours or 6 days of paid sick leave per year. The time can be accrued by hours worked or given in a lump amount. For full-time, exempt employees, employers should assume a 40-hour workweek for the purpose of accruing paid sick time. Paid sick time begins to accrue when employment begins. Employers must allow employees to carry over up to 48 hours of sick leave into the following year but are not required to allow employees to accrue over 48 hours. Employers are not required to pay out unused sick leave on termination. There are additional requirements under this law if the State declares a public health emergency.

Colorado requirements if developing policy:

  • Policy must apply to all employee classifications (full-time, part-time, temporary)
  • For accrual policies, all eligible employees must accrue sick and safe leave at a minimum rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, including overtime, up to 48 hours per regular and consecutive 12-month period, defined by the employer.
  • For frontload policies, must frontload at least 48 hours sick and safe time per employee per year.
  • Accrued, unused sick and safe leave must carry over to the following year, but employers may limit the accrual and use of sick and safe leave to 48 hours each regular and consecutive 12-month period.
  • If frontload method is used, no carryover is required
  • Accrual must begin on date of hire and available to use immediately on/or after 1/1/21
  • If using accrual method policy, employees must be allowed to carry over all hours up to 48 hours
  • Employees must be allowed to use sick and safe leave in increments of 1 hour
  • For accrual policies, policy must address reinstatement of accrued, unused hours for rehires, if rehired within six months when using an accrual method policy, again not required for frontloaded policies.

Visit our resource center HERE for a sample policy. Please consult your HR expert with any questions.

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