Employee Rights During COVID-19
There are many new rules to help keep employees safe at work during COVID-19. Review the guidance below to learn more about your rights and your employer's requirements.
To slow the spread of COVID-19 and make sure businesses are operating safely, all employees need paid sick leave to isolate and quarantine when ill or exposed to COVID-19.
Returning to Work and Paid Leave
2021 COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Rules
Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA)
During a Public Health Emergency this Act requires employers in Colorado to give a certain amount of paid leave to employees who:
- Have been exposed to COVID-19
- Have symptoms of COVID-19
- Need to get tested for COVID-19
- Have tested positive and are getting care
- Have been told by a government official or health care provider to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19
- Are not able to work due to a health condition that may increase their risk of getting COVID-19
- Are taking care of someone else who:
- Have been ordered to quarantine or isolate
- Does not have care because school, place of care, or childcare is closed or not available
- Employers with less than 16 employees must provide 80 hours of leave for COVID reasons. This is true even if they do not have to provide 48 hours of general paid leave until 2022.
- Paid leave for COVID is required for all employees and employers in Colorado except for:
- Federal Government
- Employees who are covered under the federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act
- Employers must tell employees about their rights by putting the HFWA Poster in a common area and in the language most staff can read: HFWA Poster English and Spanish 2021
- 2020 requirements Interpretive Notice and Formal Opinion #6A
- 2021 requirements Interpretive Notice and Formal Opinion #6B and Interpretive Notice and Formal Opinion #6C
- Employers with HFWA paid sick leave questions may call the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment at 303-318-8441.
2020 COVID-19 Related Paid Sick Leave Rules
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
FFCRA required certain employers to pay their employees if they could not work because of illness or to care for family related to COVID-19. This Act was active April 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020.
Some employers may receive tax credits for sick leave wages and family leave wages they paid. Review the IRS COVID-19 Related Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family Leave Overview to find out if your business qualifies. These tax credits have been extended through September 30, 2021.
Colorado HELP Rules
Colorado Help Rules said that employers must provide up to two weeks of sick leave at 2/3 of the employee’s regular pay for certain employees. These rules were active March 11, 2020 - July 14, 2020.
Employers with employees who are high risk for becoming ill from COVID, live with, or care for an individual who is high risk:
- Cannot force an employees to physically go to work during the pandemic
- Must try to help high risk individuals continue to work at home
- Are encouraged to provide work adjustments, such as allowing work from home.
Report a concern if an employer is not meeting COVID-19 requirements:
- Call our Call Center at 303-220-9200, select option 2, then option 1
- Complete our online form to file a complaint
- File a Colorado Department of Labor and Employment complaint for unpaid sick leave, other earned wages, and other violations of Colorado wage and hour law. Workers who have had their rights violated may get pay, possibly restitution, and possibly their job position returned if it has been lost.
- Colorado Department of Labor & Employment: Division of Wage and Hour
- Towards Justice
- A nonprofit law firm that seeks to advance economic justice through impact litigation, strategic policy advocacy, and capacity building
- Know Your Rights with COVID-19
- Not paid for work? Have your rights been ignored? Complete the online free and confidential intake form to see how Towards Justice can help.