Understand and Take Advantage of the Colorado Sick Leave Law

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A Quick Guide to Colorado Sick Leave Law

The number of states requiring employers to provide paid sick leave is increasing, and Colorado is not left behind. Should you call in sick due to a cold, depression, back pain, diabetes, or migraines? What if it’s your first day at work?

Understanding the rules of asking for sick days at work will help you take advantage of your rights. This guide will break down the Colorado sick leave law and show you how to create a leave request letter swiftly .

An Overview of the State of Colorado Employee Sick Leave Policy

Colorado employers must provide their employees with paid sick leave under the following laws:

  1. Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA)
  2. Public Health Emergency Leave (PHE)

Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA)

The Health Families and Workplace Act (HFWA) took effect on July 15, 2020, and states that:

  • Companies with more than 16 workers must grant their employees paid sick leave
  • Workers earn one hour of paid sick leave per 30 work hours

Under the HFWA, an employee can:

  • Start accumulating paid sick leave immediately after the employment begins
  • Utilize their paid sick leave as soon as it is accrued
  • Carry over 40 hours of unused paid sick leave from one year to the next

When you are separated from the company—due to retirement, resignation, or termination—the employer is not required to pay you for the unused paid sick time. Your unused leave time is reinstated if you are rehired within six months of leaving the company.

You can use your accrued paid sick leave for these purposes:

  • Tending to a mental or physical illness, injury, or another health condition that hinders you from working
  • Taking care of a family member who has a mental or physical illness or injury
  • Obtaining a medical diagnosis or preventive medical care
  • Seeking help if you or a family member has been the victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or harassment
  • Taking care of your child if the schools have closed due to a public health emergency

In Colorado, you cannot be forced to work when sick or get fired for exercising your right to paid sick leave.

Public Health Emergency Leave (PHE)

The PHE is an additional type of leave offered under the HWFA, and it applies in the event of a public health emergency—as follows:

Employees Who Typically WorkApproved Public Health Emergency Leave
40 hours or more per week80 hours
Fewer than 40 hours in a weekEqual to:
  • The number of hours an employee is scheduled to work or be on paid leave in the 14-day period after requesting the paid leave
  • The number of hours an employee actually works in 14 days before the declaration of a public health emergency or leave request—whichever is later

You can use the PHE during a public health emergency for the following purposes:

  1. Self-isolating if you show symptoms or are diagnosed with a communicable illness during the public health emergency
  2. Obtaining a diagnosis or being treated for a communicable illness
  3. Having a health condition that increases your risk of catching the illness
  4. Taking care of a child or other family member whose school or workplace is closed due to the public health crisis

Employers are still required to comply with the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act in such situations.

Draft a Formal Sick Leave Request Letter With DoNotPay

Skip the hassle of learning how to call in sick and looking for sample letters or email templates to send to your boss. You can create a formal and personalized sick leave request letter in a matter of minutes with DoNotPay.

All you need to do is:

  1. Search the Request Sick Leave tool
  2. Enter the state in which the company is located
  3. Answer our chatbot’s questions about the company and enter the amount of leave time you plan to take

DoNotPay can email the sick leave request letter to you or forward it directly to your employer. If you become sick at work and request time off but get fired for it, DoNotPay can help you send demand letters to your employer.

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