Colorado: Updated Guidance Issued for Paid Sick Leave Law


All Employers with CO Employees


June 24, 2022 




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The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s (CDLE) Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (INFO) #6B, provides clarity on the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA), which is applicable to all employers in Colorado regardless of size or industry. INFO #6B specifically addresses issues surrounding both accrued leave and public health emergency leave (PHEL). Key points of note are as follows. 


Accrued Leave. Under the HFWA, employees may accrue and use up to 48 hours of sick leave per year and are permitted to carryover up to 48 hours of unused sick leave from one year to the next. The HFWA did not specify how much sick leave an employer must provide in the subsequent year of a carryover. INFO #6B clarifies that the carryover amount counts towards the 48-hour total accrual in the subsequent year. For example, if an employee carries over 40 hours, they are eligible to accrue another 8 hours to meet the total 48 hours of the benefit. Ultimately carryovers do not affect the total amount of paid sick leave entitlement for the benefit year – employees are permitted up to 48 hours unless the employer provides more per policy. 


Public Health Emergency Leave. The HFWA provides employees a “supplement” of up to 80 hours of paid sick leave in the event a public health emergency is declared by law. Employers may count accrued sick leave towards the supplemental 80 hours. This supplemental PHEL does not renew for each subsequent year and is only provided once for the duration of the declared public health emergency. If an employee has already used all of the supplemental leave they are entitled to, the employer does not need to provide additional supplemental leave. INFO #6B clarifies that any accrued but unused paid sick leave can be used as a credit by the employer towards the total supplemental leave of 80 hours. For example, if an employee wishes to use the supplemental PHEL and also has 30 hours of accrued but unused paid sick leave, the employer will provide an additional 50 hours to total 80 hours of supplemental leave. The employee would first draw down the 50 hours of supplemental PHEL and then, if needed, utilize the remaining 30 hours of accrued sick leave.  


Although these are the two main points of clarification in INFO #6B, there is additional guidance on rate of pay, applying employer policies that may already meet the requirements of the HFWA, documentation, paid leave records, posting and notice requirements, complaints and rights of no retaliation or interference. It is important to note INFO #6B is not binding law but the CDLE’s official opinion on its interpretation of HFWA. Employers should review the HFWA and INFO #6 in its entirety to clarify implementation and enforcement. 


Action Items 

  1. Review INFO #6B here. 
  2. Update existing paid sick leave or PTO policies to verify compliance with additional guidance. 
  3. Have appropriate personnel trained on accrual and carryover calculations. 
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance. 

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2022 ManagEase