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Colorado Orders Employers to Give Workers 4 Days of Paid Leave for COVID-19 Testing

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has issued emergency rules to “ensure workers in food handling, hospitality, child care, health care, and education can get paid sick leave to miss work if they exhibit flu-like symptoms and have to miss work awaiting testing results for COVID-19.” 

The Health Emergency Leave with Pay, or HELP rules, mandate four days of paid sick leave for employees who have flu-like symptoms to receive COVID-19 testing.  

Covered employers include those with four or more employees, or those with at least $500,000 in annual revenue. 

The requirement is not on top of sick leave an employer already provides and does not cover wage replacement should an employee test positive and require quarantine resulting in lost work time and wages.  
 
Workers are covered regardless of pay rate or method (hourly, weekly, piece rate, etc.); the daily pay during leave is either their established daily rate or, if their pay fluctuates, their average daily pay for the past month. 

The HELP rules will remain in effect for at least 30 days or longer if the state of emergency declared by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is extended. 

Polis will reassess the emergency status every month. After 120 days, the paid-leave rule would have to go through a formal process. 

Employers affected by HELP should consider drafting policies now to cover the emergency rule. Considerations for your policy include requiring a doctor’s release prior to returning to work after a positive test and emphasizing that the sick leave will only be provided if Colorado remains in the state of emergency. 

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