By Liz Harstel
Effective August 7, 2023, the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) will require all Colorado employers to allow employees to use accrued paid sick leave for absences from work for two additional reasons:
- Bereavement or financial or legal needs following the death of a family member
- Inclement weather (i.e., power outages, heat, and water loss) or other unexpected events wherein the employee must
- evacuate their residence, or
- care for a family member whose school or place of care was closed.
6 Things to Do Now:
- Review and update sick leave policies to ensure compliance with these new provisions and explicitly outline the additional reasons for which employees can take leave.
- Inform employees of their rights to take paid sick leave under these new circumstances.
- Ensure that employees understand that the law requires them to provide notice of the request to use leave as soon as practicable, except in cases of unforeseeable circumstances where the employee cannot provide advance notice. When the leave is foreseeable, employees should make a good-faith effort to include the expected duration and avoid undue disruption of operations.
- Understand that employers can require reasonable documentation that the leave was used for the intended purpose only for absences of four or more consecutive days — and employees are allowed to provide the documentation after the leave ends.
- Maintain accurate records of each employee’s accrued sick leave and indicate the employee’s available balance at least monthly. Note that these records must be kept for at least two years.
- Be aware that the HFWA includes anti-retaliation provisions stating employers cannot retaliate against employees for utilizing their paid sick leave benefit. Retaliation includes discipline, discharge, or any other adverse employment action against an employee who takes sick leave.
As an employer, it is crucial to understand the new provisions of the act and take active steps to comply with the new law. If you have questions about anything covered in this blog post, please contact a member of our employment law team.