New COVID-Related Sick Leave Law Took Effect January 1

Date: December 30, 2020

Affected businesses are those with 16 or more employees—for now

A new COVID-related, sick-leave law in Colorado took effect January 1, 2021, picking up where it left off in 2020.

The new law is the result of Senate Bill 205, which requires that “Starting January 1, 2021, for employers with 16 or more employees, and starting January 1, 2022, for all employers, the Act requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, accrued at one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year.”

However, the Healthy Families and Workplaces (HFWA) section of the Senate bill, Part 4, allows bumping it to 80 hours for coronavirus-related sick leave.

NFIB lobbied against SB 205 citing the generous leave time already given by small business owners, and for any reason. Although the measure eventually passed, NFIB succeeded in raising the employee threshold and delaying compliance for a year to give smaller entrepreneurs time to adjust.

As explained by the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, “As of July 14, 2020, HFWA § 406 expanded federally required 80-hour COVID leave to ‘each employee who is not covered’ by federal law. But that federal law expires after 2020, so HFWA § 405 requires 80-hour COVID leave for 2021
if there is a public health emergency.

“All 2020 COVID leave was provided under § 406, which adopted and expanded the federal leave that covers only 2020. Only as of January 1, 2021, will employees start using the 80-hour COVID leave supplement that § 405 provides once per emergency, whether employees use all 80 hours at once or divide them among multiple qualifying events.

“Employers with fewer than 16 employees must still provide 80-hour COVID leave, despite not having to provide 48-hour general paid leave until 2022. Such employers are exempt until 2022 from the HFWA § 403 requirement of 48-hour general paid sick leave for a range of health or safety needs.”

Check out this handy one-page document on the new law provided by Human Resources Plus, a provider of HR services and resources.

Don’t Forget!

A new Colorado equal pay law also takes effect on January 1. Click here to read more about it.


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