Governor Signs the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act

The Governor signed the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act on July 14, 2020.

2020:

For the remainder of this year, the Act will require all employers to comply with the emergency paid sick leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The paid sick leave provision of the FFCRA mandates that an employer provide to each employee paid sick leave to the extent that the employee is unable to work or telework due to a need for leave because:

(1) The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.

(2) The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

(3) The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.

(4) The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2).

(5) The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.

(6) The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Paid sick leave for all the reasons above applies to all employees, regardless of how long the employee has been employed. Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick time. Part-time employees are entitled to a proportional number of hours equal to their average hours worked over a two-week period. An employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave before the employee uses the paid sick time. Paid sick time is capped at $511 per day or $5,110 in the aggregate for leave taken due to employee illness, suspected illness, or isolation (reasons (1), (2), and (3) above). The cap for when the employee is needed to care for someone else (reasons (4), (5), and (6), above) is $200 per day or $2,000 in the aggregate. The rate of pay is the greater of either the employee’s regular rate of pay, the Federal minimum wage, or the applicable State minimum wage. However, paid sick time is reduced to two-thirds (2/3) this rate for when absences are due to the employee’s need to care for “family members” (situations that arise due to paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) above).

The FFCRA ends on December 31, 2020 and new required sick time must be implemented.

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. That’s extended to all employers 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. Therefore, if your PTO policy meets or exceeds the requirements in this law, you do not need a separate sick time policy. It’s our interpretation of the policy 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 that covered employers provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked by an 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 we’re in a public health emergency.

If you have any questions, contact us to speak with one of our experts.

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