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Colorado Laws

Discover important state and local employment laws for Colorado.
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Published: Aug 15, 2023

Colorado Expands Coverage for Anti-Discrimination Protections

Colorado Expands Coverage for Anti-Discrimination Protections
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Update Effective: August 7, 2023

On June 6, 2023, Governor Jared Polis signed the Protecting Opportunities and Workers’ Rights (POWR) Act, which lowers the threshold for viable harassment claims to any conduct that is “subjectively offensive to the individual alleging harassment and is objectively offensive to a reasonable individual who is a member of the same protected class.” Additionally, the POWR adds ‘marital status’ as a protected category, meaning employers cannot take any adverse action based on an employee’s marital status. Among other new requirements, the law also strictly regulates nondisclosure agreements when they limit disclosure of discrimination or unfair employment practices, and mandates employers to keep personnel and employment records for at least five years.

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Published: Jul 13, 2023

Colorado Amends Salary Notice Requirements for Job Postings

Colorado Amends Salary Notice Requirements for Job Postings
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Update Effective: January 1, 2024

On June 5, 2023, Governor Polis signed the Ensure Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, amending the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEW) to clarify and enhance an employer’s obligations relating to announcement of a new role or promotional opportunity (which the Act refers to as a “job opportunity”). 

Among other updates, the state narrowed the notice requirements for certain out-of-state employers and certain promotions (e.g. “career progressions”), and added a notice requirement around the final selected candidate for a given job opportunity. Employers should review and revise their job posting and promotion processes accordingly.

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Published: Jul 13, 2023

Colorado Restricts Age-Related Requests for Job Applicants

Colorado Restricts Age-Related Requests for Job Applicants
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Update Effective: July 1, 2024

On June 2, 2023, Governor Polis signed the Job Application Fairness Act (JAFA), prohibiting employers from asking certain age-related questions on initial employment applications or during the hiring process. These questions include inquiries about age, date of birth, and dates of attendance at or graduation from educational institutions. The enactment of JAFA builds upon existing requirements and prohibitions in Colorado's hiring process, such as the "ban-the-box" policy that restricts the inquiry into criminal histories, as well as the mandate to include salary and benefits information in job postings.

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Published: Jun 15, 2023

Expanded Qualified Reasons for Sick Leave Use

Expanded Qualified Reasons for Sick Leave Use
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Update Effective: August 7, 2023

The Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) requires employers to provide up to 48 hours of paid sick leave per year to eligible employees. Beginning on August 7, 2023, employees will be permitted to use their sick leave for expanded reasons such as bereavement and the need to evacuate their residence due to inclement weather. Employers should review and revise their current policies to reflect the new sick leave requirements.

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Published: Jan 12, 2023

CDLE Issues New HWFA Payment Calculation Regulations

CDLE Issues New HWFA Payment Calculation Regulations
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Update Effective: January 1, 2023

Colorado’s Department of Labor & Employment has implemented new changes to pay rates for leave used under the Healthy Working Families Act (HWFA). The new rules outline that any HWFA-related pay should include the same benefits and “any set hourly or salary rates, shift differentials, tip credits, and commissions” associated with the position. This change is a slight deviation from the previous guidance which also included bonuses and overtime considerations. Employers covered under HWFA regulations should review their Colorado pay practices with legal counsel to ensure compliance with the new regulations.

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Published: Dec 16, 2022

Expansion of Public Health Emergency (PHE) Leave

Expansion of Public Health Emergency (PHE) Leave
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Update Effective: November 11, 2022

Colorado has expanded their public health emergency (PHE) leave to include the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other respiratory illnesses. This law was previously implemented to provide two weeks, or 80 hours, of additional sick leave for those battling the COVID-19 virus under the PHE leave law. PHE leave is currently scheduled to continue through February 2023, but it could last longer if extended by the state. Employers should monitor further changes and developments with this expansion.

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Published: Aug 12, 2022

CLDE INFO #16 Outlines State Wage Deduction Rules

CLDE INFO #16 Outlines State Wage Deduction Rules
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Update Effective: Immediately

The Colorado Department of Labor Enforcement (CDLE) has issued an Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion #16 (INFO #16) outlining the requirements for employers when implementing deductions from, and credits towards, an employee’s pay. The notice outlines that deductions generally must be agreed to in writing and it must be enforceable based on the pre-existing requirements of the law. Additionally, most allowed deductions must be for the employee’s benefit, and cannot bring the employee below the applicable minimum wage. Employers should consult with their legal counsel to ensure their processes surrounding employee deductions are compliant with the law.

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Published: Aug 12, 2022

Colorado Paid Sick Leave Carryover Regulations Clarified

Colorado Paid Sick Leave Carryover Regulations Clarified
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Update Effective: Immediately

Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) clarified two outstanding questions regarding carryover requirements under both the general Paid Sick Leave (PSL) and Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) mandates in its Interpretive Notice and Formal Opinion (INFO) #6B – a notice that outlines employer responsibilities and practices dictated by the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA). The first update clarifies that any carryover leave can be applied to offset the following year’s accruals, up to the cap of 48 hours. The second update provides additional clarity to the amount of supplemental PHEL leave, outlining that employers can count other unused, accrued sick leave toward the 80-hour PHEL requirement.

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Published: Aug 12, 2022

Colorado Enacts New Wage Theft Law

Colorado Enacts New Wage Theft Law
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Update Effective: January 1, 2023

Colorado enacted a new wage theft enforcement law that, among other things, increases penalties for late payment of wages after an employee’s demand, adds new penalties for failure to pay after an adverse decision is made by the Division of Labor and Employment (CDLE), and adjusts current standards for employers and employees to recover attorney’s fees in civil suits.

The law also limits the ability of employers to automatically deduct pay for unreturned property after an employee is terminated and requires employers to provide advance notice of such related deductions. Employers should review their company property policies with employment counsel to ensure their policies and processes are compliant.

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Published: Jul 14, 2022

Updated Termination Notice Requirements in Colorado

Updated Termination Notice Requirements in Colorado
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Update Effective: May 25, 2022

In May, Colorado enacted amendments to its pre-existing termination notice requirements. The updated requirements specify that employers must now provide – either by hard copy or electronically, at the time of separation – specific identification information, including details around the employee’s start date, termination date, certain pay provisions, and, notably, a reason for the employee’s separation. This new information is required in addition to the existing state requirement to provide certain unemployment insurance information. In light of this update, Colorado employers should review current termination letters and processes and modify accordingly.

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Published: Jul 14, 2022

Limitations on Non-Compete Agreements & Increased Penalties in Colorado

Limitations on Non-Compete Agreements & Increased Penalties in Colorado
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Update Effective: August 10, 2022

Colorado recently enacted further limitations to the use of non-compete agreements, rendering most usage reasons void except for specific circumstances. These circumstances are limited to coverage of certain types of information, like trade secrets and non-solicitation of customers, and to employees making over a certain amount annually. The law also creates acknowledgment requirements and sets penalties for non-compliance.

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Published: Jan 14, 2022

Colorado Expands Definition of Vacation Pay and Additional Related Updates

Colorado Expands Definition of Vacation Pay and Additional Related Updates
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Update Effective: January 1, 2022

Colorado's Wage Protection Rules are expanding the definition of “vacation pay” to include all PTO policies. The existing requirements for employers regarding vacation pay, such as prohibiting the employer practices of “use-it-or-lose-it” time off policies and forfeiture of time off upon termination of employment, would expand further to combined PTO policies (where sick, personal, vacation and/or other types of time off are covered by one employer policy). Employers are required to allow earned PTO to carry over year-to-year and to pay out PTO upon separation of employment.

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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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