The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has published an emergency rule that temporarily requires employers in certain industries to provide paid sick leave to employees with flu-like symptoms who are being tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The emergency rule took effect immediately on March 11, 2020 and will remain in effect for 30 days, or longer if the state of emergency declared by the governor continues.
The emergency rule requires employers in the following industries to provide paid sick leave to employees:
- Leisure and hospitality;
- Food services;
- Child care;
- Education (including transportation, food service, and related work at educational establishments);
- Home health care, if working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high-risk individuals;
- Nursing homes and community living facilities.
Basic Leave Entitlement:
Covered employers must provide up to four days of paid sick leave to employees who have flu-like symptoms and are being tested for COVID-19. The paid sick leave ends if the employee receives a negative COVID-19 test result.
Employers are prohibited from terminating an employee for inability to provide documentation during an illness covered by the rule.
Amendments of March 26, 2020:
Under amendments published on March 26, 2020, the CDLE extended the paid sick leave requirement to also cover retail establishments that sell groceries. The amendments also require all covered employers to provide paid sick leave to an employee who is under instructions from a healthcare provider to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19.
Interaction with Other Leave Policies:
If an employer already provides the paid leave necessary to meet the rule's requirements, the employer isn't required to provide additional leave. However, if an employee has already exhausted their paid leave allotment, and is subsequently tested for COVID-19, they are entitled to the additional paid sick leave the emergency rule provides.
Pay During Leave:
Pay must be provided at the employee's regular rate of pay, including all forms of wages and compensation (but increased to the applicable minimum wage for an employee paid below the minimum wage due to a tip credit), and for the employee's regularly worked hours. To the extent that the employee's rate of pay or hours worked had varied before the absence for illness, pay must be in the amount of the employee's average daily pay for the preceding month.
Covered employers should read the amended emergency rule and CDLE guidance in full and ensure compliance. Employers should also encourage employees who experience flu-like symptoms to remain out of the workplace and contact their health provider immediately.
Note: Effective April 1, 2020, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act will require certain employers to provide paid leave to employees impacted by COVID-19 and provide tax credits to employers that do. More information on these requirements may be found here.