Jackson Kelly PLLC

Labor & Employment News Alert

Additional Sick Leave in Colorado: An Overview of the Temporary Colorado HELP Rules

March 23, 2020

By: Alexis L. Hailpern and Karl F. Kumli

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in Colorado relative to Coronavirus (“COVID-19”).  The very next day, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (“CDLE”) passed emergency rules regarding paid sick leave and access to wage support.  While the focus surrounding COVID-19 is generally about keeping ourselves and those around us safe from the virus, Colorado based employers need to make sure that they comply with the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“Colorado HELP”) rules while Colorado is under a state of emergency.

The Colorado HELP rules mandate, on a temporary basis, that employers in certain industries (listed below) provide paid sick leave to only those employees with flu-like symptoms who are currently being tested for COVID-19. Colorado HELP rules apply the following industries: 

  • Nursing Homes
  • Child care
  • Food Services
  • Leisure and hospitality
  • Education
  • Home health (but only if working with high-risk individuals)
  • Community living facilities

Colorado HELP rules only apply to those employers who do NOT already provide sick leave of up to four days. Employers who provide less than four days of paid sick leave will have to provide additional days to those employees with flu-like symptoms who are currently being tested for COVID-19. If an employer provides four or more paid sick days, and an employee has used those sick days prior to the presentation of flu-like symptoms and a pending COVID-19 test, the employer must provide four more days.

Colorado HELP rules went into effect on March 11, 2020 and will remain effective for 30 days unless Governor Polis continues to declare a state of emergency in Colorado, at which time Colorado HELP rules will still apply. Employees identified within the emergency rule are entitled to coverage regardless of their rate of pay method. The Colorado HELP rules outline how sick pay is to be structured.  Pay must be an already established daily rate for those employees who have a documented daily rate prior to Colorado HELP rules.  If an employee does not have an already established pay rate, employers will have to calculate an average daily pay rate over the past month. 

Just like any facet of the law, these temporary rules can be confusing. Jackson Kelly is here to help understand and implement the Colorado HELP rules for our clients. Please use the below guide as a guide only and contact us if Colorado HELP Rules apply to your business.

Quick Colorado HELP Rules Checklist for Employers:

  1. Are you engaged in business in one of the industries above?  If no, Colorado HELP rules do not apply to your business.  If yes, proceed to question #2. 
  2. Is the employee in question having flu-like symptoms? If no, Colorado HELP rules do not apply.  If yes, proceed to question #3.
  3. Is the employee in question being tested for COVID-19? If no, Colorado HELP rules do not apply.  If yes, proceed to question #4.
  4. Does the employee in question have four (4) paid sick days available?  If yes, Colorado HELP rules do not apply.  If no, Colorado HELP rules apply. 

Alexis Lyn Hailpern is Counsel in the Denver, Colorado office of Jackson Kelly.  She can be reached by telephone at 303.390.0188 or by email – alexis.hailpern@jacksonkelly.com

Karl Kumli is an Associate in the Denver, Colorado office of Jackson Kelly.  He can be reached by telephone at 303.390.0026 or by email - Karl.Kumli@jacksonkelly.com

 

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