The End of COVID Public Health Emergency Leave

May 11, 2023

By: Colin A. Walker

On Thursday, May 11, 2023, the federal public health emergency, imposed in response to the COVID pandemic, will end. Click here to read more. Colorado’s public health emergency ended earlier this year. Click here to read more.  
For Colorado employers, this means the end of Public Health Emergency Leave under the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA)—but not immediately. Under the HFWA, employees in Colorado are entitled to take Public Health Emergency Leave for up to four weeks after the end of the public health emergency. That means that employees can take Public Health Emergency Leave through June 8, 2023.
While the end of the public health emergency will make things easier for Colorado employers, please note that employees are still entitled to up to 48 hours of paid “accrued leave” per year  under the HFWA aside from Public Health Emergency Leave. This leave is available regardless of any public health emergency. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has issued guidance on the HFWA here.
In addition, Public Health Emergency Leave is not related specifically to COVID, but rather to any qualifying public health emergency. While it is to be hoped that we will never experience another public health emergency, sooner or later, we probably will. In that event, Public Health Emergency Leave under the HFWA will go into effect again.