Colorado’s paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI) launched January 1, 2023. FAMLI benefits include partial wage replacement, job protection, and continuation of group health care coverage. FAMLI is funded by payroll contributions and is administered by the FAMLI Division (part of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment).
Employers were to start withholdings on January 1, 2023. Employees can take FAMLI leave starting on January 1, 2024. The FAMLI Division has a web page with FAQs, toolkits, videos, and other resources for employers. Employers do not pay the monetary benefits directly to employees. Employers must register with the FAMLI Division.
FAMLI applies to most employers and employees in Colorado. Those who are self-employed are not required to participate but can opt in.
Employers are responsible for sending contributions to FAMLI. For 2023 and 2024, the contribution rate is 0.9% of each employee’s wages, up to the Social Security wage base (currently estimated to be $155,100 in 2023, which would be a max contribution of $1,395.90). If you have nine or fewer employees, then your employees pay half the contribution amount and you pay nothing. If you have 10 or more employees, then you pay 50% and your employees pay 50% of the contribution.
The state will determine an employee’s eligibility when they apply. To be eligible for FAMLI, an employee must have earned $2,500 in Colorado during their base period. To be entitled to job protection and continuation of health care coverage, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 180 days before taking leave.
Amount and Reasons for Leave
Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of FAMLI leave per year for family, medical, qualifying exigency, or safe leave. Employees can take an additional four weeks for pregnancy-related complications.
Family leave is to care for a family member with a serious health condition or to bond with a new child. Medical leave is for the employee’s own serious health condition. Qualifying exigency leave is for making arrangements for a family member’s military deployment. Safe leave is for domestic violence or sexual assault.
If the employee’s FAMLI leave also qualifies for the Colorado Family Care Act or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), then the leaves will run concurrently.
Employers are required to provide notice about FAMLI by posting the notice in a prominent location at each worksite; to each employee upon hire; and to an employee when they learn that the employee might need leave for a covered reason.
Updates to Pay Transparency Law
The state now requires employers of all sizes, as of January 1, 2023, to notify employees about all job opportunities (not including career development or progressions) in advance of filling them. Previously, notice was only required for promotional opportunities. The notification needs to include the rate or range of pay, a general description of other benefits or compensation, and the date the application window is expected to close. For employers with no physical location in Colorado and 14 or fewer remote employees in the state, only remote job opportunities must be shared.
Employers also have new post-selection notice responsibilities. Within 30 days of the selected candidate starting the job, employers must communicate the following information to the employees that will regularly work with that individual:
- The name of the person who filled the position
- The person’s title
- The person’s prior title with the employer, if applicable
- How and where employees can express interest in similar job opportunities
Finally, all eligible employees must be notified of a position’s requirements for career progression when it’s regular or automatic and based on time or other objective metrics; for example, when a junior stylist is automatically promoted to senior stylist after one year in the role. Employees must also be told the pay, benefits, full- or part-time status, duties, and access to advancement.
Effective January 1, 2024, under the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEWA), employers must make reasonable efforts to notify all employees of each job opportunity, which is a job vacancy that the employer is accepting applications for and externally posting. This notification should happen on the same day for all employees, prior to the employer’s selection decision, and must include:
- Pay or pay range;
- Benefits description;
- Other applicable compensation; and
- When the application date ends.
Note: Employers wholly out of state, with fewer than 15 employees in Colorado who are all remote, are only required to notify about remote job opportunities through July 1, 2029.
Within 30 days of selecting a candidate, employers must provide their name, job title (former title if already an employee and new title otherwise), and how other employees can apply for a similar job in the future. For positions with career progression, employers must disclose the progression, pay, benefits, whether it’s a full- or part-time position, job duties, and access to further advancement. However, employers can’t identify a candidate in a way that violates their legal and privacy rights or puts them at risk.
As of July 1, 2024, employers can’t ask or require applicants to provide their age, birthday, or school attendance or graduation dates on an initial job application. Employers can ask an applicant to verify their age when it’s required by law but not on an initial job application. Employers can also ask for additional application materials (certification, transcripts, etc.) but the applicant must be notified that they can remove information that identifies their age, birthday, or school-related dates.
Magic Mushrooms Go Mainstream
Colorado has legalized the possession and use of psilocybin in certain quantities and settings as of January 1, 2024. Employers do not have to allow or accommodate its use or possession in the workplace. As with the legalization of cannabis, you may want to consider how you respond to certain drug test results and whether your response is potentially harmful to those with disabilities or may limit your candidate or employee pool.
Effective August 7, 2023, the Colorado Protecting Opportunities and Workers’ Rights Act (POWRA) amended the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act by:
- Adding marital status to the list of classes protected from discrimination (i.e., race, creed, sex, etc.);
- Creating new recordkeeping requirements for employers to include duration, type of record, and where to keep personnel or other records involving discrimination complaints or charges;
- Expanding the definition of harassment to ensure expansive antiharassment protections;
- Specifying disability discrimination when there is no reasonable accommodation an employer can make; and
- Strictly regulating nondisclosure agreements when they limit disclosure of discrimination or unfair employment practices.
The legislation also conveyed the state’s public policy as encouraging:
- Employers to adopt equal employment opportunity policies to prevent and disincentivize illegal harassment and discrimination; and
- The free reporting, discussion, and exposure of discriminatory or unfair employment practices to better protect employees and discourage these practices.
Attempts to interfere with employees’ ability to communicate about and report alleged discriminatory or unfair employment practices are contrary to this public policy.
Effective August 7, 2023, employees were able to use paid sick leave under Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) for more than just their own or a family member’s illness or safety issues. Now, paid sick leave can be used to grieve the death of a family member (including related financial and legal matters), to care for a family member when their school or workplace closes (due to inclement weather, loss of power, etc.), or if they need to vacate their home (due to inclement weather, loss of power, etc.).
On July 14, 2023, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment released an updated Colorado Workplace Public Health Rights Poster (English/Spanish) to remove the information related to the expired public health emergency leave.
The updated poster covers the state’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) and its paid leave rights; and Protected Health/Safety Expression and Whistleblowing (PHEW) protections and worker rights to express workplace health/safety concerns and use protective equipment.
Effective March 10, 2023, U.S. reservists and Colorado National Guard members may take leave for military training for the equivalent of three weeks of work on their regular work schedule each year. Previously, reservists and National Guard members could only take this leave for up to 15 days. They are also now entitled to use any of their paid or unpaid leave for:
- Their absence for military training; or
- To engage in active service in the Colorado National Guard.
As of the income tax year that began January 1, 2023, employers must provide employees with written notice about the availability of the following tax credits:
- Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC);
- Federal Child Tax Credit; and
- State Child Tax Credit.
The notice must be provided at least once annually and may be delivered electronically, including via email or text. It also must be in English and any other language that the employer typically uses to communicate with the recipient employee.