FAMLI Benefits for Colorado Employees Start Jan. 1, 2024 – A Few Important Points to Know
In November of 2020, Colorado voters approved Proposition 118 which paved the way for a state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. The FAMLI program will ensure all Colorado workers have access to paid leave to take care of themselves or their family during life circumstances that pull them away from their jobs – like growing their family or taking care of a loved one with a serious health condition.
Both employers and employees have been contributing premium payments to FAMLI since January 1, 2023, and FAMLI will start providing benefits to employees beginning January 1, 2024. Most eligible employees will receive up to twelve weeks of leave; those who experience pregnancy or childbirth complications may receive an additional four weeks.
There are many facets to FAMLI and so much for employers to know. A great resource of Employer FAQs can be found at https://famli.colorado.gov/employers/employer-faqs. The following are a few important points for employers to know.
Qualified Uses of FAMLI Leave
Individuals can use FAMLI leave to take time away from work to:
- Care for a new child, including adopted and fostered children.
- Care for themselves, if they have a serious health condition.
- Care for a family member’s serious health condition.
- Make arrangements for a family member’s military deployments.
- Address the immediate safety needs and impact of domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
About the Claims Process
Employers can select to meet their FAMLI obligations through the state system or a private plan. For those employers utilizing the state system, the employee/claimant will start their application for a claim directly in the FAMLI portal at https://famli.colorado.gov.
Once a claim application has been submitted by an employee, the FAMLI Division will let the designated HR Contact for the employer know within 5 business days that a claim has been filed. Notification to the company may be less than 5 days, but this timeframe allows the Division time to review and adjudicate the claim. Good news for employers – it is not the employer’s job to approve or disapprove these requests for FAMLI benefits. This is the responsibility of the state’s FAMLI Division.
How Do Employers Administer FAMLI With Existing Leave/PTO Policies?
Employers cannot require employees to use accrued vacation, sick leave, or other paid time off before or while receiving FAMLI. However, employers and employees can agree that an employee taking FAMLI leave can use accrued paid time off to “top off” their pay to make their benefit payments “whole”. Employees, however, cannot receive more in compensation than their average weekly wage.
Things to Know About Reinstatement of an Employee Following FAMLI Leave
- Employees who take FAMLI Leave are entitled to be restored by the employer to the position they held when the leave started.
- An individual is considered employed on any day they work, on their days off, and during any leave (paid or unpaid) where the employer reasonably believes the individual will return to work.
- An employer is not obligated to reinstate an employee IF an employee’s position is eliminated due to legitimate downsizing or reorganization.
- An employer is not obligated to reinstate an employee IF the employee cannot perform the essential functions of their job any longer following the period of leave.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all Colorado Employers!
- Colorado Staffing Association hosted webinar, Nov. 3, 2023. Presented by Colorado Department of Labor, FAMLI Division.
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