Healthcare worker with covid virus pictured

The federal government has extended the Public Health Emergency (“PHE”) related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PHE is now set to expire on October 13, 2022.

For employers in Colorado, that means the 80 hours[1] of supplemental paid or public health emergency leave required under the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (“HFWA”) must continue to be available to all employees who have not yet used such leave during this pandemic, and such leave shall remain available for four weeks after the expiration of the PHE, i.e., through November 13, 2022, if the PHE is not extended again.

As a reminder, the HFWA mandates employers provide employees with such public health emergency leave during a PHE, in addition to paid sick leave that is annually required under the HFWA. The public health emergency leave may only be used for reasons related to the pandemic, including leave due to diagnosis or a family member’s diagnosis of pandemic-related illness. This is a one-time allocation of additional leave, commencing January 1, 2021, for the entire duration of the PHE. Thus, if any employees have already exhausted their allotment prior to the extension of the PHE, they are not entitled to additional public health emergency leave beyond what they may accrue under the employer’s leave policies or the HFWA paid sick leave requirements.

Employers should review their leave policies and accounting to ensure compliance with the HFWA and to make sure that time off related to the COVID-19 pandemic is accounted for under the public health emergency leave requirements.  Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about these leave requirements.

For additional information and guidance, please contact Michelle B. Ferguson at mferguson@irelandstapleton.com or (303) 628-3658 or Jennifer M. Kinkade at jkinkade@irelandstapleton.com or (303) 628-3647.


[1] 80 hours of leave is for employees who typically work 40 hours or more in a workweek. HFWA provides that the amount of public health emergency leave required is based on the average the employee works over a two-week period.


What is written here is for general information only and should not be taken as legal advice. If legal advice is needed, please consult an attorney.