Colorado Public Health Emergency Leave (“PHEL”) Not Expiring Until May 14, 2022 – at the Earliest
In January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced the eighth consecutive renewal (in approximate three-month intervals) of the nationwide COVID-19 public health emergency, which first was declared on January 31, 2020.
This latest renewal took effect on January 16, 2022, and is effective until April 16, 2022, unless the secretary renews the declaration again or determines COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency.
HHS public health emergency declarations trigger certain employer requirements under the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (“HFWA”). The HFWA requires Colorado employers to supplement employees’ regular paid sick leave in certain circumstances related to a public health emergency.
The obligation commences when a public health emergency is declared and continues until four weeks after the official termination or suspension of the public health emergency. As it stands today, the HFWA requirement for Colorado employers to provide PHEL would not expire until May 14, 2022.
Due to the expansion of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA), all Colorado employers – regardless of size – must provide paid sick leave equivalent to 2 weeks per year (80 hours for full-time employees) for any of the following reasons:
- Quarantine/Isolation Order – when the employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- Self-Quarantine – when the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- COVID-19 Symptoms – when the employee is experiencing symptoms such as a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Care for Others – when an employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or whose health care provider has advised the individual to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; and
- School/Childcare Closure – when the employee is caring for a son or daughter because the school or childcare provider has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-10 precautions.
The above is an overview of continued employer responsibilities under the EPSLA. All Colorado employers are advised to consult with legal counsel to ensure they are complying with all federal and state laws.
ASA Staffing Today. Feb. 10, 2022, and The National Law Review, March 13, 2022, Volume XII, Number 72:
- “Colorado’s Public Health Emergency Paid Sick Leave Requirement Continues Into 2022”, Jan. 31, 2022.
- “Colorado Expands Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act to Require Virtually All Private Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave Benefits”, July 8, 2020.
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