Colorado Expands Mandated Sick Pay

Compliance Connection

Colorado Expands

Mandated Sick Pay

July 1, 2020

Well, we almost made it through the first half of the year without another employment law
installment from the Colorado government. However, we have a new one. On June 16, 2020, the Colorado Legislature passed the Healthy Families and Workplace Act, also known as Senate Bill 20-205.  

This Bill becomes effective for all Colorado employers with more than 15 employees on January 1, 2021 and on January 1, 2022 for all employers. To read the entire Bill, please click here.  

The following is a synopsis of the Bill as presented and only serves to highlight the main points of the requirements for employers:



  • Create a paid sick leave bank for all employees.
  • Accumulation of paid sick leave begins upon hire to be paid at the employee’s normal
  • hourly rate.
  • Employees earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work, (up to 48 hours)
  • regardless of their employment status.
  • Paid sick leave hours are available immediately upon accrual.
  • Paid sick leave hours cap at 48 hours but will carry over to subsequent years.
  • Employers may offer 48 hours of paid sick leave as a lump sum up front if they choose.
  • If an employee leaves employment and is rehired within six (6) months, the employer
  • shall reinstate any unused paid sick leave.
  • The paid sick leave may not be denied due to lack of compliance for absence or related
  • policies.
  • The paid sick leave is not payable upon separation of employment.


  • Employees may utilize these hours for the following for themselves and/or to care for their family members experiencing mental or physical circumstances:
    • Illness
    • Injury
    • Condition of or for preventative care
    • Circumstances regarding domestic violence
    • Circumstances regarding sexual assault
    • Circumstances regarding harassment
    • Circumstances regarding stalking
  • Employees may request this in writing, electronically, or verbally.
  • Employees may not be required to find their own replacement.

Public Health Emergency Allotment:

  • Employers must offer a one-time allotment of two-weeks additional paid sick leave for public health emergencies (unused basic paid sick leave may be counted towards this).
  • If an employee works less than 40 hours per week, the allotment shall be based on the average number of hours the employee works in a fourteen-day period.
  • Employees may utilize this additional leave for purposes similar to the Families First Corona Virus Response Act (FFCRA) implemented earlier this year.
  • Employees may utilize this paid sick leave for up to four (4) weeks after the official termination or suspension of the public health emergency.

Required Notices:

  • Employers must notify employees that they are entitled to the paid sick leave with the effective date. This notification must include the following:
    • The amount of paid sick leave.
    • The terms of its use.
    • Zero tolerance of retaliation against employees requesting or using the paid sick leave.
    • The employee’s right to file a complaint or bring a civil action against the employer for violating this Bill or for retaliation.
  • Notification must be submitted to each employee in writing and in English or any other languages that is the first language spoken by at least 5% of the workforce.
  • Post this notification in a conspicuous and accessible location in each establishment where the employees work.
  • These posters should be available through the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) prior to the effective date.

Required Record Keeping:

  • All employee time records must be kept for a two-year period indicating hours worked, paid sick leave accrued, and all paid sick leave used.

Important Definitions:

  • Employee: According to CRS 8-4-101(5), an employee is “any person, including a migratory laborer, performing labor or services for the benefit of an employer in which the employer may command when, where, and how much labor or services shall be performed. For the purpose of this article, an individual primarily free from control and direction in the performance of the service, both under his or her contract for the performance of service and in fact, and who is customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession, or business related to the service performed is not an “employee”.”
  • Employer: According to CRS 8-4-101(6), an employer includes "every person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, migratory field labor contractor or crew leader, receiver, or other officer of court in Colorado, and any agent or officer thereof, of the above mentioned classes, employing any person in Colorado; except that the provisions of this article shall not apply to the state or its agencies or entities, counties, cities and counties, municipal corporations, quasi-municipal corporations, school districts, and irrigation, reservoir, or drainage conservation companies or districts organized and existing under the laws of Colorado.” However, this Bill also includes the state and its agencies or entities, counties, cities and counties, municipalities, school districts, and any political subdivisions of the state.  Basically, it only carves out the federal government.
  • Family: According to CRS 2-4-401)3.7) includes “a person who is related by blood, marriage, civil union, or adoption.” In addition, the Bill includes “a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis or a person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a minor” and a “person for whom the employee is responsible for providing or arranging health- or safety-related care.”
  • Public Health Emergency: According to the Bill, this means acts of bioterrorism, a pandemic influenza, an epidemic caused by a novel and highly fatal infectious agent or if an emergency is declared by a federal, state, or local public health agency. In addition, an emergency declared by Governor including a highly infectious illness or agent with epidemic or pandemic potential.

We realize this information creates substantial amount of work for employers in addition to the work already in process for the upcoming Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, also effective January 1, 2021. These new laws require a review of existing policies, resulting in modifications or the creation of new policies in some circumstances. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us when you need assistance. Please contact


Lighthouse HR Support (LHRS) provides practical human resource information and guidance based upon our knowledge and experience in the industry and with our clients. LHRS services are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. LHRS services are designed to provide general information to human resources and/or business professionals regarding human resource concerns commonly encountered. Given the changing nature of federal, state and local legislation and the changing nature of court decisions, LHRS cannot and will not guarantee that the information is completely current or accurate. LHRS services do not include or constitute legal, business, international, regulatory, insurance, tax or financial advice. Use of our services, whether by phone, email or in person shall indicate your acceptance of this knowledge.