Colorado Leave Laws

January 8th 2024

Recognizing the importance of employee welfare and the promotion of a thriving work environment, the value of taking time off from work cannot be overstated.

This article aims to delve into the legal obligations surrounding leave in Colorado and the different types of leave available to employees.

It is essential to note that there might be distinct regulations applicable to employers in the public and private sectors.

In Colorado, leave days are divided into two categories: mandatory and non-mandatory, each with its own set of guidelines and requirements.

This Article Covers

Colorado Required Leave
Colorado Non-Required Leave

Colorado Required Leave

Employers in Colorado are required to provide their employees with certain leaves of absence. These include the following:

1. Sick Leave –

  • Eligibility: Colorado employees are all entitled to accrued sick leave under the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act.
  • Duration: One hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: In the event of illness, injury, or a condition that affects their ability to work, as well as for diagnosis, treatment, and preventive care, such as vaccinations. Employees may also use this leave if they are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or harassment, or if they need to care for family members with any of the listed conditions or needs.Employers must pay the employee for the time off at their regular rate and cannot retaliate against the employee for taking this leave.

2. Public Health Emergency Leave (COVID-19 related) –

  • Eligibility: As of Jan 2023, employers are still required to grant their employees public health emergency leave for various COVID-related reasons. Moreover, this leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of recovery.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Falling sick with COVID-like symptoms, quarantining or isolating due to exposure, getting tested for COVID, experiencing side effects from the COVID vaccine, being unable to work due to health conditions that increase one’s susceptibility to COVID, and fulfilling family needs related to COVID, such as caring for a sick family member or dealing with school or childcare closures.

3. Jury Duty Leave –

  • Eligibility: All employees.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To serve on a jury or when subpoenaed as a witness. During the time off, the worker should receive payment at their normal compensation rates, provided that it doesn’t surpass 50$ per day, and there is no alternative arrangement between the employer and employee.

4. Voting Time Leave –

  • Eligibility: Colorado employees are eligible for voting leave unless one of two situations arises:
    1. The employee failed to request leave at least one day in advance,
    2. The employee has at least a three-hour window to vote before and after their shift.
  • Duration: A two-hour leave for their employees to cast their ballots
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To vote in any local, regional, state or comparable election.

5. Military Leave –

  • Eligibility: Employers serving in the National Guard or military reserves.
  • Duration: Up to 15 days without any negative effects on the employee’s job.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For necessary active duty or active duty training.

6. Emergency Response Leave –

  • Eligibility: Qualified volunteers.
  • Duration: Up to 15 days of leave per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To respond to emergencies.

7. Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Leave –

  • Eligibility: Victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
    It is mandated that all employers with 50 or more employees provide this option to their employees.
  • Duration: Up to three days off in a year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To obtain a restraining order, and get legal and medical counseling and treatment. 

Colorado Non-Required Leave

Colorado employers are legally not required to offer certain types of leave. Still, some employers may choose to provide these benefits at their discretion.

1. Bereavement Leave –

A company is not obligated to offer bereavement leave unless it is stated in its policy.

2. Vacation Leave –

Colorado leave laws do not mandate that employers to provide their workers with vacation time. Still, they are allowed to offer this benefit and choose to enforce a “use it or lose it” policy that requires employees to use their vacation days by a predetermined date.

3. Holiday Leave –

In the absence of established company policies, employers may not be obliged to grant leave for state holidays.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in Colorado, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Colorado, and your rights as an hourly employee in Colorado. You can also learn more about Colorado Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.