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Colorado Re-Opening With Expanded Virus-Related Paid Sick Leave

April 28, 2020, 6:47 PM

Colorado’s virus-related paid leave rules were amended April 27 to expand the amount of leave time, as well as the conditions and businesses that are covered, the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics said April 27.

The new rules, which took effect April 27, are in effect for at least one month and up to four months, the division said in an email. Gov. Jared Polis (D) declared a state of emergency March 10.


Business Coverage

Retail establishments; real estate sales and leasing offices; elective medical, dental, and health services; and personal-care services, such as those focused on hair, spas, massage, tattoos, and pet care, were added to the coverage under the amended rules.

Such establishments were to start reopening, April 27, when the Safer-at-Home Executive Order (No. 2020-044) replaced the previous stay-at-home order (No. 2020-24, extending No. 2020-17).

“Accordingly, there is a need to assure that potentially coronavirus-carrying employees in such jobs feel secure in staying away from work,” the division said in guidance explaining the purpose and statutory authority of the rules.

Colorado retail businesses were allowed to reopen April 27 with curbside pick-up for goods sold. Shops may allow customers to enter May 1, followed by commercial businesses May 4, but with requirements and precautions detailed in the executive order.

State, Federal Leave

The amended Colorado HELP rules also increased available leave to two weeks, up to 80 hours, of paid sick leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay rate, a change from the previous four-day limit. Two weeks of leave parallels federal requirements and follows public health advice that employees stay quarantined or isolated for a full 14 days, the division said.

Covered conditions were expanded under the amended rules to cover respiratory-illness symptoms in addition to flu-like symptoms. Quarantine and isolation instructions from government officials were added under the new rules, along with health-care providers.

A negative test for Covid-19, a respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, would terminate the paid leave after someone is asymptomatic for a sufficient time period, which conform to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Public Health and Environment recommendations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Pulfrey in Washington at cpulfrey@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Trimarchi at mtrimarchi@bloombergtax.com