Colorado

Paid Family Leave Laws

Colorado

Great news! There are two family leave laws that Colorado workers can take advantage of:

  • Federal Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)
  • Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI)

In general, FMLA and FAMLI run concurrently if your leave is covered by both laws. 

Federal Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)

FMLA provides leave to care for a:

  • Child (who is under the age of 18 or incapable of self-care due to a physical or mental disability)
  • Spouse
  • Parent (including a biological, adoptive, foster, or step-parent, or any other person who stood "in loco parentis” but not including a parent-in-law)

FMLA eligibility includes:

  • All public employers and private employers who employ 50 or more workers within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. 
  • ​​Employees must have worked for a covered employer for at least one year and have worked for that employer for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. 

FMLA provisions:

Up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or childbirth
  • To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform their job
  • For certain needs in connection with a loved one's military deployment
  • If medically necessary, employees caring for a seriously ill loved one may be able to take this time in smaller chunks, spread out over time, rather than all at once

FMLA Protections:

  • Job and Seniority: Upon return from FMLA leave, nearly all employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. Rare exceptions to this rule are explained here
  • Benefits: During FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage and continue paying any share of their health insurance premium under any “group health plan” on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work.
  • FMLA rights: An employer can’t punish an employee in any way for using their FMLA rights and can’t interfere with the employees ability to use their rights under the law.


How to apply for FMLA:

  • Notify your employer of your need for leave. You'll need to get your loved one's health care provider to certify their health condition and need for care. Your employer will then provide you with notices and forms to fill out and return to them. 
  • If you know in advance when your leave will start, tell your employer at least 30 days before that date. If you can’t do so or don’t know in advance, tell your employer as soon as possible.

Detailed information about Federal FMLA, visit the US Department of Labor website

Meanwhile, check out Colorado’s paid leave program below.


CO Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI)

The state of Colorado expands on the Federal FMLA law with:

  • A broader definition of “family member”
  • Eligibility for more residents 
  • Paid leave (FAMLI)

Colorado provides FAMLI to care for a:

  • Child (of any age, including a biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild or legal ward, a child of a domestic partner, a child to whom the employee stands “in loco parentis,” or a person to whom the employee stood in loco parentis when the person was a minor)
  • Parent (including a biological, adoptive, foster, or stepparent or legal guardian, person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a minor, parent-in-law, or parent of a spouse or domestic partner)   
  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Grandparent (including the spouse or domestic partner’s grandparent)  
  • Grandchild (including the spouse or domestic partner’s grandchild)  
  • Sibling (including the spouse or domestic partner’s sibling)  
  • Any individual with whom the employee has a significant personal bond that is like a family relationship

CO FAMLI eligibility includes:

  • Nearly all Colorado employees who have earned at least $2,500 in wages within the state, over a period of one year
  • Self-employed workers can opt in to coverage

CO FAMLI provisions:

Up to 12 weeks per year for a covered employee to:

  • Care for a family member as listed above with a serious health condition
  • Bond with a new child, including adopted and fostered children
  • Care for themself, if they have a serious health condition
  • Care for a family member’s serious health condition
  • Make arrangements for a family member’s military deployment
  • Address the immediate safety needs and impact of domestic violence and/or sexual assault

CO FAMLI Benefit Amount:

Benefits are calculated on a sliding scale based on the employee’s average weekly wage as follows:

  • 90% of the portion of their income that’s below $710.58 per week plus
  • 50% of the portion of their income that’s more than $710.58 per week 
  • Benefits are capped at a maximum amount of $1,100/week. You can learn more about how to calculate your estimated FAMLI benefit amount here

CO FAMLI protections:

  • Job & seniority: Employees who have worked for their employer for at least 180 days must be restored to their original or equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms upon return from FAMLI leave.
  • Benefits: During FAMLI leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage under any “group health plan” on the same terms as if they had continued to work.  
  • FAMLI rights: An employer can’t punish an employee in any way for using their FAMLI rights or interfere with their ability to do so. 

How to apply for CO FAMLI:

  • Notify your employer of your need for leave. You'll need to get your loved one's health care provider to certify their health condition and need for care. Your employer will then provide you with notices and forms to fill out and return to them. 
  • If you know in advance when your leave will start, tell your employer at least 30 days before that date. If you can’t do so or don’t know in advance, tell your employer as soon as possible.
  • Apply for benefits on the FAMLI website.


Visit the CO FAMLI website for the most current details about Colorado family leave policies. 

Note: The state, county, or city where you live may also offer short term (a few days per year) paid sick leave or paid time off that you may be able to use for caregiving. You can find short term leave information for jurisdictions in the state of Colorado here.

The information on this page should not be considered legal advice. Other protections may apply in your specific situation. 

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