HFWA – Colorado Healthy Families & Workplaces Act – 2022 Updates

Effective January 1, 2022, all Colorado employers -- regardless of size -- are required to provide all employees with accrued General Paid Sick Leave (PSL) and Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) per the Colorado Healthy Families & Workplaces Act (HFWA). 

  • General paid sick leave (PSL): Starting their first day of work, all employees accrue 1 hour of HFWA PSL per 30 hours worked, capped at 48 hours/year. In 2021, PSL requirements only applied to employers with 16 or more workers. In 2022, PSL applies to ALL Colorado employers and employees.
  • Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL): All employees are allotted up to 80 hours* of PHEL for absences related to a declared public health emergency. This leave remains in effect for 30 days following the end of a declared public health emergency. (*PHEL hours for part-time employees are based on a 2-week average of hours worked.)
    • 2021-22 PHEL, aka "80-Hour COVID Leave": Applies to ALL Colorado employers effective Jan. 1, 2021 and continues into 2022 per the federal COVID-19 public health emergency, which is extended through April 2022. Therefore, 80-hour COVID Leave continues through May 2022.
  • Payroll tax credits are not available for COVID-19 paid leave in 2022. The credits allowed under FFCRA and ARPA ended Sept. 30, 2021.

NOTE for ASAP Payroll Clients: These changes are not automatically implemented; it's the employer's responsibility to ensure recordkeeping compliance. 

In terms of payroll processing and tracking PTO, ASAP can help in a variety of ways based on your needs and preferences: 

  • We can track earnings codes for any type of paid time off; simply report the hours with each payroll by type, which will then be printed accordingly on the employee's pay stub -- no additional administrative fees
  • We can track time off-accruals and balances in our payroll system for you -- administrative fees apply, per payroll and set up (contact us for details)

ASAP Webinar: 2022 HFWA Update Q&A with Michael Santo

Michael Santo, our favorite employment law attorney (and HR hero), answers questions to help clear muddy waters when it comes to complying with paid leave requirements for all Colorado employers (federal government exempted).

Download Presentation Slides >>


The following HFWA paid leave requirements are in effect for all employers with workers in Colorado as of January 1, 2022:

General Paid Sick Leave (PSL)

  • All employees receive up to 48 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year (1 hour per every 30 hours worked per year). This requirement applies to all workers -- full-time, part-time, salaried, tipped, exempt, non-exempt seasonal, temporary, etc. 
  • Employers can elect an accrual method of tracking or provide a lump sum at the beginning of each year
  • 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)
  • 2022 Colorado Paid Leave & Whistleblower Poster (effective 1/1/2022)
  • INFO #6B: CDLE summary of HFWA paid leave requirements and rules as of January 1, 2022 (revised 12/30/2021)

Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)

  • All employers in Colorado—regardless of size—are required to provide up to 80 hours of paid Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) during a declared public health emergency. The PHEL sick pay mandate expires 4 weeks following the end of the emergency public health order.
  • PHEL for COVID-19 absences (aka "80-Hour COVID Leave") went into effect January 1, 2021 and continues through May 2022 per the renewal of the federal public health emergency declaration for COVID-19.
  • Employees may use 80-hour COVID Leave supplement once per public health emergency, starting either as of January 1, 2021 (if they are already employed on that date), or as of their first date of employment (if they are hired after that point), whether they use all 80 hours at once or divide them among multiple qualifying events.
  • PT employees are eligible dependent on a 2-week average of hours worked.
  • If you have a current PTO policy that covers this requirement, employees can use their current sick policy balances. 
  • When the employee needs leave for a reason that qualifies under both general sick leave (PSL) and PHEL, the employee gets to use their PHEL first. 
  • Employees may use PHEL when they need to:
    1. Self-isolate because they have symptoms of or have been diagnosed with the communicable illness that caused the public health emergency;
    2. Seek a medical diagnosis, care (including preventive care), or treatment because they are experiencing symptoms of the illness that caused the public health emergency;
    3. Be excluded from work (by the employer or a governmental health official) because they were exposed to or have symptoms of the illness that caused the public health emergency;
    4. Stay out of work because they have a health condition that may increase their susceptibility or risk of the illness that caused the public health emergency; or
    5. Care for their family member in #1, 2, or 3 above, or whose school, childcare provider, or other care provider is unavailable, closed, or providing remote instruction because of the public health emergency.
  • INFO #6C: CDLE interpretative notice on PHEL "80-Hour COVID Leave" requirements (revised 12/30/2021)

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.