Colorado: New Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program
In 2020, a new Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI) was introduced in the Colorado legislature. Effective January 1, 2024, all employees in Colorado will be entitled to a paid family and medical leave insurance program.
Currently, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. FMLA allows eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for reasons such as the birth or adoption of a child, caring for a family member with a serious health condition, dealing with their serious health condition, or addressing qualifying exigencies related to a covered military member’s active duty.
Effective January 1, 2024, all Colorado employees, irrespective of employer size, will be entitled to receive paid leave under the State Family and Medical Leave.
Duration of the Leave
Employees will be entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid leave for Family and Medical purposes with an additional of 4 weeks of paid leave for employees who face complications in pregnancy or childbirth.
The leave will be applicable under the following conditions:
- Any employer with at least one employee in Colorado and employees who have earned at least $2,500 in wages within the state within the last 4 calendar quarters.
- Businesses with existing paid family leave benefits can apply to use their private plans, provided they offer similar or superior benefits.
- Self-employed employees may participate in FAMLI if they have opted into coverage and live and work in Colorado.
Usage of the Leave
An employee may use the leave for the following purposes:
- Caring for a new child;
- Caring for an employee’s serious health condition;
- Caring for a family member with a serious health condition;
- Making arrangements for a family member’s military deployment; and
- Obtaining services in response to intimate partner violence, stalking, sexual assault, or sexual abuse.
The funds will be contributed equally between the employer (50%) and employee (50%). Contributions to the program began on January 1, 2023, and the benefits shall be payable from January 1, 2024.
Employers who have less than 10 employees shall be exempt from contributions but must continue to collect and remit employee contributions.
Application and Notification Process
- Employees will have the flexibility to apply for FAMLI benefits either directly to the FAMLI Division or through an employer-approved private plan.
- Employees shall apply at least 30 days before the start date of the leave. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, the Labor Authority will accept the approval within 30 days after the leave has commenced.
- The FAMLI Division shall promptly inform employers of a benefits application within five business days of its submission.
- Employer Option for Direct Notification: Employers shall also have the flexibility to request direct notification from employees regarding their need for FAMLI leave.
Take Away – Employers and employees are encouraged to carefully review their existing leave policy outlined in employment contracts and take proactive steps to amend the policy to comply with the new leave policy effective from January 1, 2024.