Colorado Leave Laws
No federal or state law requires employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time to employees. Employers can choose to establish a policy or employment contract that provides employees with such benefits. In that case, the employer must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-4-101(14)(a)(III).
The rollover policy
- Statutory Provisions Addressing Vacation Pay
Employers may establish a vacation pay policy in writing or by custom and practice. Employees must be made aware of the policy. Employers and employees must follow the policy until it changes. Colorado Division of Labor Advisory Bulletins: Vacation.)
“Wages” and “compensation” include vacation pay that is earned under the terms of any agreement. If the employer provides paid vacation, then on the employee’s separation the employer must pay vacation pay earned and determinable under the terms of the agreement. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-4-101(14)(a)(III) and Colorado Division of Labor Advisory Bulletins: Vacation.)
- Use-It-or-Lose-It Policy
The Colorado Division of Labor (CDOL) provides that a use-it-or-lose-it policy is permissible if:
The policy is included in an agreement between the employer and employee.
The policy does not deprive an employee of earned vacation time or the wages associated with that time.
Any vacation pay “earned and determinable” must be paid on employment separation.
The agreement determines when vacation pay is “earned.”
(Colorado Division of Labor Advisory Bulletins: Vacation.)
- Payment of Accrued Vacation on Termination
Any vacation pay “earned and determinable” must be paid on employment separation. The parties’ agreement determines when vacation pay is “earned.” If the agreement is silent or ambiguous about when vacation becomes “earned,” the CDOL will consider:
The employer’s historical practices.
Industry norms and standards.
The subjective understanding of the employer and employee.
Other relevant factors.
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-4-101(14)(a)(III) and Colorado Division of Labor Advisory Bulletins: Vacation.)
No federal or state law in Colorado requires employers to pay out an employee’s accrued vacation, sick leave, or other paid time off (PTO) at the termination of employment.
Maternity, Paternity, FMLA
In addition to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Colorado has the following laws regarding Maternity and Paternity Leave:
Colorado’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers to provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodation including more or longer breaks during the workday, light-duty, job restructuring, modification of equipment (including seating), or modified work schedules.
Adoptive Parents Leave Employers are required to provide the same rights regarding the maternity and paternity leave for both biological and adoptive parents, including any other employment benefits such as job protection and pay.
These requirements do not apply to step-parent adoptions.
Jury Duty Leave
The employer is required to provide an employee with paid, job-protected leave to respond to jury summons or to serve on a jury. Regularly employed individuals must be paid their regular wages, up to $50 per day, for the first three days of juror service. An employer may choose to pay more. Any part-time or temporary worker who worked for the same employer for three months or more is considered to be “regularly employed.”
An employee is not entitled to compensation for time spent:
- Serving as a witness in a case;
- Responding to a subpoena; or
- Acting as a plaintiff or defendant in the courts.
Colorado law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.
In Colorado, employees entitled to vote must be provided with up to two hours of paid leave to vote, unless: 1) an employee has not requested the leave at least one day prior to the vote date, or 2) the employee has three (3) or more hours after the opening or before the closing of the polls during which the voter is not required to be on the job. An employer may specify the hours an employee may take leave to vote, but the period must fall at the beginning or end of the work period if the employee so requests.
In addition to USERRA, Colorado law provides reinstatement rights for state and U.S. military service members. Employees who are called to active service must be granted unlimited unpaid time off and reinstated to their former positions with all pay, seniority, and benefits they would have had if they had been continuously employed. Additionally, Colorado provides up to 15 days of unpaid leave per year to members of the National Guard or the U.S. armed forces in order to attend military training. These members also have reinstatement rights to their former positions as long as they are still qualified for the positions. Employees must provide documentation of satisfactory completion of their training.