Colorado HFWA Paid Leave - 2022 Updates

As of January 1, 2022, all Colorado employers -- regardless of size -- are required to provide all employees with accrued leave and public health emergency leave (PHE) per the Colorado Healthy Families & Workplaces Act (HFWA). The following HFWA paid leave requirements apply to all workers -- full-time, part-time, salaried, tipped, exempt, non-exempt seasonal, temporary, etc. 

UPDATE: Colorado Public Health Emergency (PHE) leave now covers flu, RSV, and COVID-19

As of November 11, 2022, Colorado’s latest PHE declaration includes health needs related to not just COVID, but also flu, respiratory syncytial virus (“RSV”), and similar respiratory illnesses. PHE leave is usable for a range of PHE-related needs, not just for confirmed cases. Employers cannot require documentation from employees to show that leave is for PHE-related needs. 

This 80-hour PHE leave requirement will continue until four weeks after all applicable PHE declarations end or are suspended. Based on the current emergency declarations,  PHE emergency leave will continue at least into May 2023. PHE leave may continue longer if either the federal or the state PHE declaration is renewed further into 2023.


NOTE for ASAP Payroll Clients: Th
ese changes are not automatically implemented; it's the employer's responsibility to ensure recordkeeping compliance with HFWA requirements. 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)

HFWA Accrued Paid Leave

Starting their first day of work, all employees accrue 1 hour of HFWA leave per 30 hours worked (capped at 48 hours per calendar year). Employees may use this leave as soon as it's accrued for qualifying safety- and health-related reasons.

  • 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)

Refer to CDLE INFO #6 for a comprehensive overview of HFWA paid leave requirements.


HFWA Public Health Emergency Leave (PHE)

Effective on their hire date, all employees are allotted up to 80 hours of PHE leave for absences related to a declared public health emergency. Part-time employees are eligible for PHE leave based on a 2-week average of hours worked.

As of November 11, 2022, the conditions covered by Colorado’s latest PHE declaration include health needs related to COVID, flu, respiratory syncytial virus (“RSV”), and similar respiratory illnesses.

  • If you have a current PTO policy that covers this requirement, employees can use their current sick policy balances. Update your employee handbooks to reflect the expanded language and illnesses. (ASAP clients have access to an employee handbook builder through our Online HR Support Center.)
  • When an employee's reason for leave qualifies under both HFWA accrued leave and PHE leave, the employee gets to use their PHE leave first.
  • Note: Payroll tax credits are no longer available for COVID-19 paid leave in 2022. The credits allowed under FFCRA and ARPA ended Sept. 30, 2021.

Employees may use PHE leave 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 such as vaccination), 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.

Employers cannot require documentation from employees to show that leave is for PHE-related needs. 


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.