On June 2, 2023, Governor Jared Polis signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 23-017, which expands the qualifying reasons an employee may take leave under the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA).

Quick Hits

  • The Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act requires Colorado employers to provide paid sick leave benefits to their employees.
  • Senate Bill 23-017 broadens the scenarios under which an employee may take leave to situations beyond those involving the health or caregiver needs of the employee and the employee’s immediate family.
  • Senate Bill 23-017 is expected to take effect on August 7, 2023.

The HFWA requires nearly all employers in Colorado to provide paid sick leave benefits to employees to care for their own health or the health of family members. SB 23-017 expands the HFWA’s existing leave provisions to require an employer in Colorado to allow an employee to take protected leave to:

  • “grieve, attend funeral services or a memorial,” or address “financial and legal matters that arise after the death of a family member”;
  • “care for a family member whose school or place of care has been closed due to inclement weather, loss of power, loss of heating, loss of water, or other unexpected occurrence or event that results in the closure of the family member’s school or place of care”; or
  • “evacuate the employee’s residence due to inclement weather, loss of power, loss of heating, loss of water, or other unexpected occurrence or event that results in the need to evacuate the employee’s residence.”

SB 23-017 is expected to take effect on August 7, 2023. In the meantime, employers may want to review and update their sick leave policies to include these three additional bases for leave under the HFWA.

The Denver office of Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates on the Colorado and Leaves of Absence blogs as additional information becomes available.

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