By: Debra Fowler, SHRM-CP
Director, Compliance & Policy
Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act- HFWA Amendment
Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) was amended by Senate Bill 23-017 during Colorado’s most recent legislative session. Effective August 7, 2023, employees will be able to use their protected paid sick leave hours (or HFWA-compliant PTO hours, if applicable) for additional reasons, which include the following:
To grieve, attend a funeral/memorial, as well as address financial and legal matters that occur after the death of a family member; or,
Care for a family member whose school or place of care has been closed due to an unexpected event, such as inclement weather or a power outage; or,
Evacuate their residence due to inclement weather, power outage, loss of heat or water, or any other unexpected occurrence that results in the need to evacuate the employee’s residence.
These additional HFWA-qualifying reasons fall under the same protections as other HFWA-qualifying reasons, which is the right to take leave with full pay, and return to work, without negative consequences:
Pay must be given for all time on leave, without extra delay, and at the same pay rate as time worked;
Absences for HFWA-qualifying reasons must not be counted against employees as absences that that may lead to firing or other negative action; and,
Employees have a right to return to work, without retaliation, or other acts interfering with taking leave and return.
Remember, Colorado employers have an obligation to notify employees of their right to take paid leave under HFWA, including the reasons for taking leave which are protected under HFWA. To meet this obligation, Vida HR highly recommends an update to your employee handbook to add these additional reasons for HFWA leave, but also to send your employees an email or memo, or schedule a call, to explain these new rights.
We anticipate CDLE will provide an updated Paid Leave and Whistleblower Rights poster in the coming months. When this is available, we will send out the updated poster information.
For questions about this update to HFWA or to inquire about a handbook revision, contact Vida HR today!