Paid COVID-19 Leave: It’s Not Over Yet!!

Brooke A. Colaizzi

Colorado employers must continue to provide paid COVID leave to employees who have public health emergency related leave available. Recently, the federal government extended the public health emergency declaration related to COVID-19 for an additional 90 days.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra recently extended the public health declaration effective July 15, 2022 through at least October 13, 2022. 

Under Colorado’s Healthy Workplaces and Families Act (HFWA), paid leave for COVID-19 circumstances must be provided for the duration of the public health emergency, whether federal or state, and for an additional four weeks after the public health emergency expires, unless an employee has already exhausted his public health emergency leave balance. As a reminder, employees are allowed two weeks, (up to 80 hours) total of paid sick leave to care for themselves or family members due to a COVID-related illness. Employees do not have to use it all at once. For example, if they used 40 hours of leave in 2021, they have 40 hours remaining until the end of the public health emergency period.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s HFWA page contains a notice as to whether paid COVID-19 leave remains in effect, and the agency has promised that the webpage will be updated to reflect the end of the public health emergency, whenever that occurs.