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March 2020

Colorado Requires Certain Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19 Testing

March 17, 2020

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has joined in the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.  On March 11, 2020, CDLE published emergency rules that temporarily require employers, in certain circumstances, to provide four days of paid sick leave to employees undergoing COVID-19 testing.  This comes the day after Colorado Governor Polis declared a state of emergency and issued directives for CDLE to create these rules and identify additional supports and wage replacements.  The rules became effective March 11, 2020, will stay in effect for at least 30 days, or longer if the state of emergency continues.

Which employers must comply?

The rules apply to all employers in the following fields:

  • Leisure and Hospitality;
  • Food services;
  • Child care;
  • Education (including related services such as cafeterias and transportation);
  • Home health care (working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high-risk individuals);
  • Nursing homes; and
  • Community living facilities.

Which employees are eligible?

The four days of leave must be provided to employees in the above industries who:

  1.  have flu-like symptoms and
  2.  are being tested for COVID-19. 


An employer who already offers paid sick leave that complies with these rules does not need to offer additional days.  However, an employer must offer additional days when an employee meets the criteria above, after he or she has previously exhausted his or her paid leave.

When pursuing and providing sick leave under these rules, both employees and employers should comply with the federal Family Medical Leave Act.  However, FMLA provisions do not narrow the rights and responsibilities of these rules and no employer may terminate an employee for inability to provide documentation during an illness covered by these rules.  The employer must pay the eligible employee at his or her regular rate of pay, including all forms of wage and compensation, for the regularly worked hours.  Failure to comply with these rules may result in a failure to provide wages violation.  The paid leave will end if the COVID-19 test comes back negative.

Stay Informed

CDLE Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“Colorado HELP”) Rules

Visit our COVID-19 Hub for ongoing updates.

Employment Law

Anna M. Reinert

Employment Law