If your employer has interfered with your rights to medical leave or is denying you leave, contact Our Denver Colorado Paid Sick or Medical Leave Attorneys for a FREE consultation about your case.

Under Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (“HFWA”) (S.B. 20-205) and the Wage Protection Rules (7 CCR 1103-7), all Colorado employers must provide all employees (including full-time employees, part-time employees, and temporary employees, etc.) with Accrued Leave and Public Health Emergency Leave.  This means that your employer must provide up to 48 hours of paid leave per year, and an additional 80 hours paid leave for PHE covered needs when a PHE is declared and up to four weeks after all federal and state PHEs end.

Under the HFWA, employees have the right to take leave with full pay and return to work without negative consequences. Pay must be given for all time on leave, without extra delay, and at the same pay rate as time worked and employees have the right to return to work without retaliation or other acts interfering with taking leave and return. If you believe your employer has improperly denied you leave, contact our Denver Colorado Paid Sick or Medical Leave lawyers.


Documentation cannot be required to take leave but can be required as soon as the employee can provide it after returning to work. Employers can only require reasonable documentation for Accrued Leave when the employee is absent for four or more consecutive days during which the employee would’ve ordinarily worked (not just calendar days). Employers are also prohibited from requiring that documentation have a signature, be notarized or in any particular format. Documentation may be provided by the employee for the purposes of Accrued Leave through any reasonable format, including electronically. For more information, or if you believe your employer has violated the HFWA, call our Denver Colorado Paid Sick or Medical Leave compliance attorneys.


Accrued Leave can be used for various health and safety related needs, such as a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition that prevents work; obtaining medical care (such as a vaccination), or a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of any mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; care related to being a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or criminal harassment (including counseling); care for a family member who has a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or who needs the sort of care listed above; or, due to a public health emergency, a public official closed the employee’s place of business or an employee’s school or place of care, requiring the employee to care for the child.

The accrued paid leave accumulates at a rate of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Up to 48 unused leave hours can roll over to the next year, although employers are not expressly required to allow an employee to use more than 48 hours in any one benefit year. However, an employer may have a policy that is more generous than the minimum requirements by law. Questions about violations of medical leave laws can be difficult to navigate, and it is encouraged to reach out to our Denver Colorado paid leave attorneys for more guidance or to review your HFWA case.

Also, under the HFWA, it is unlawful for your employer to:

  • count your HFWA paid sick or medical leave as an absence that would impact termination or other work conditions
  • deny paid leave that an employee has a right to take
  • make a threat or take any adverse action, such a termination or demotion, that is done to retaliate against or interfere with requesting or taking paid leave under HFWA, or attempting to exercise other HFWA rights, or supporting another person’s exercise of their HFWA rights, or filing a HFWA complaint or cooperating in any investigation or other proceeding about HFWA rights
  • pay less than the same hourly rate or cut an employee’s benefits for the time an employee takes HFWA
  • punish an employee for taking paid sick or medical leave
  • require an employee to find a replacement worker while they are sick or medical leave
  • fail to provide employees with written notice of their HFWA rights

If your employer has retaliated against you or taken adverse action because of your HFWA related actions, our Denver Colorado Paid Sick or Medical Leave retaliation attorneys are prepared to fight to defend your rights.


When a Public Health Emergency is declared, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, all employers are required to provide employees with up to 80 hours of PHE leave when requested. For the purposes of PHE leave, employers may not require documentation. The recent Public Health Emergency has opened up the possibility of many valid PHE leave claims. If you believe your employer may have violated your rights to take PHE leave, contact our Denver Colorado COVID leave attorneys today to schedule a FREE consultation.

PHE leave can be used for the purpose of:

  • needing to self-isolate due to a diagnosis of, or having symptoms of, a communicable illness that is the cause of the PHE;
  • seeking a diagnosis, treatment or care of the illness causing the declaration of the PHE;
  • being excluded from work by a government health official or by an employer due to exposure or symptoms of the PHE illness;
  • Being unable to work due to a health condition that may increase susceptibility or risk of such an illness;
  • Caring for a child or other family members for the reasons stated above.

These PHE leave hours supplement an employee’s unused, Accrued Leave.

  • For employees normally working 40 or more hours in a week, they are permitted up to 80 hours of total leave; and
  • For employees normally working under 40 hours in a week, their employer is required to provide either (a) the number of hours the employee is scheduled to work or is paid leave in the fourteen-day period after the leave request, or (b) the number of hours actually worked in the fourteen-day period prior to the declaration of the PHE or the leave request, whichever is greater.
  • If an employee’s reason for leave would qualify for both PHE leave and accrued leave, the employee is allowed to use the PHE supplemental leave before using their accrued leave.
  • As of January 1, 2021, all employers are required to provide PHE regardless of any COVID-related leave they were required to provide in 2020.
  • The COVID-related supplemental leave does not renew or roll over.
  • Employers are only required to provide the PHE once per PHE.
  • Generally, no paid leave is required if the entire business is completely closed

If you think that you or a loved one has had their COVID-leave (PHE) rights violated, contact our Denver Colorado COVID leave lawyers immediately.


If an employer has a policy for Paid Time Off (PTO) that provides full pay for both HFWA and non-HFWA purposes (e.g., for both sick time and vacation), and makes meets other requirements, the HFWA does not require an employer to provide additional leave.

That is, the HFWA does not require an employer to provide additional leave if it makes clear to employees, in a writing distributed in advance of an actual or anticipated leave request, that:

(A)  its leave policy already provides PTO —

(1)  in at least a number of hours and with pay sufficient to satisfy the minimum requirements of HFWA and the applicable rules (including but not limited to the supplemental leave required during a qualifying public health emergency),

(2)  for all the same purposes covered by HFWA and applicable rules, not a narrower set of purposes, and

(3)  under all the same conditions as in HFWA and applicable rules, not stricter or more onerous conditions (e.g., accrual, use, payment, annual carryover of unused accrued leave, notice and documentation requirements, and anti-retaliation and anti-interference rights); and

(B)  additional HFWA leave need not be provided if employees use all their PTO for non-HFWA reasons (e.g., vacation), except if a PHE is declared after an employee uses all of their PTO for non-HFWA reasons for a benefit year, then an employer must still provide supplemental leave.

If you suspect that your employer’s PTO policy does not meet these requirements, or that your employer’s PTO policy violates your rights to take medical leave for some other reason, contact our Denver Colorado medical leave attorneys.


If you believe your right to take leave has been violated, or you have been harassed or faced adverse actions because of your HFWA leave, our skilled Denver Colorado medical leave lawyers are here to help assess your claim and work with you to enforce your rights.

Contact Coffman Legal Today