HFWA – Colorado Healthy Families & Workplaces Act – 2021 Updates

Per March 2021 updates to Colorado's Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA), most employers -- regardless of size -- must provide up to 80 hours of paid leave for COVID-19 related absences. In addition, employers with 16 or more employees must provide up to 48 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.

Need more guidance? Watch our webinar on 2021 Colorado labor law updates presented by employment law attorney Michael Santo on January 21.

NOTE for ASAP Payroll Clients: Employers are responsible for updating sick leave policies per HFWA requirements, and notifying their payroll account manager of the changes. Before we can update time-off accruals in our payroll software, we need to discuss some details with you. These changes are not automatically implemented; it's the employer's responsibility to ensure recordkeeping compliance.

CO HFWA Paid Leave Requirements in Effect as of Jan. 1, 2021

CO HFWA Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL): Employers, regardless of size, are required to provide up to 80 hours of paid leave related to a public health emergency.

  • 7/8/21 PHEL UPDATE: Governor Polis ended Colorado's public health emergency order on July 8, 2021. However, the PHEL mandate is still in place. Check out this article by employment law attorney Michael Santo to learn why PHEL is not yet over for Colorado businesses.
  • In December 2020, Colorado extended its COVID-19 public health emergency, which triggered the PHEL provision of HFWA to take effect Jan. 1, 2021. PHEL "reset" employees' total number of allowable hours for COVID-19 leave in 2021, which are available up to 4 weeks following the end of the public health emergency.
  • FFCRA / ARP Paid Emergency Leave Tax Credits: If your organization is eligible for FFCRA credits, you may be able to claim federal payroll tax credits for HFWA wages (or comparable leave per your PTO policy) paid through Sept. 30, 2021. The federal requirement for employers to provide FFCRA paid leave ended Dec. 31, 2020. However, you can still claim dollar-for-dollar payroll tax credits for offering "FFCRA-type" leave, such as HFWA (up to 80 hours per employee for qualified leave taken from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021; and up to another 80 hours for qualified wages paid April 1- Sept. 30, 2021).
    • 3/11/21 UPDATE: The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act extends credits for qualifying COVID-19 leave to eligible employers through Sept. 30, 2021. In addition, employee eligibility of up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave reset on April 1, 2021.
  • If you are an ASAP payroll client and have questions regarding the FFCRA credits, please reach out so we can help you with payroll and tax reporting requirements

CO HFWA General Paid Sick Leave (PSL): Employers with 16+ employees are required to provide up to 48 hours of sick pay per year (this is unrelated to the pandemic). 

  • All employees receive 48 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year
  • Employers can elect an accrual method of tracking or can choose to provide a lump sum at the beginning of each year
  • PSL will be required for ALL CO employers starting 2022
  • If you are an ASAP payroll client, ask your account manager about receiving a copy of our Sick Leave Policy template (one-time fee applies)

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a self-help tool and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Laws, regulations and lending products are changing daily and decisions as to whether or how to use this information and/or what actions to take in response to the COVID19 Pandemic are solely those of the employer. The providers of this information disclaim any and all responsibility and liability for its accuracy, completeness or fitness for your particular business purposes.