Colorado’s Public Health Emergency Leave Now Covers COVID-19 and ‘Similar Respiratory Illnesses’

Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (the HFWA) requires employers provide up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave — often referred to as public health emergency leave (PHEL) — when a public health emergency is declared. As we previously described, this leave is awarded in addition to employees’ regular paid sick leave required by Colorado law. C.R.S. § 8-13.3-405. PHEL is provided per public health emergency and is to be used for reasons specifically connected to the public health emergency.

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Southwest Airlines Files Challenge to the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act

Southwest Airlines Co. has filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado challenging the application of the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) to its Colorado employees.

The complaint, which names Scott Moss in his capacity as the director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of Labor and Statistics, along with Philip J. Weiser in his capacity as the attorney general of Colorado, alleges that the application of the HFWA to Southwest employees is preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act and the federal Railway Labor Act, and that it violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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Coming August 2022: Colorado Substantially Limits Noncompete Agreements

Beginning August 10, 2022, Colorado will drastically narrow the circumstances in which Colorado employers can seek to enforce noncompete and other restrictive employment agreements. Despite Colorado law already having a general restriction against the use of noncompete agreements, the Colorado General Assembly recently passed, and Gov. Jared Polis has now signed, HB 22-1317. With this bill, Colorado joins the growing number of states enacting increased employee protections against restrictive covenant agreements, including banning such agreements with workers earning below a certain threshold.

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New Wage and Hour Rules in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has adopted the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order #38 and new Wage Protection Rules as well as the 2022 Publication and Yearly Calculation of Adjusted Labor Compensation (PAY CALC) Order, which became effective January 1, 2022. Below is a summary of notable changes in the new rules.

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Colorado Court Rejects Challenge to Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

Following the passage of Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (CEPEWA), employers were faced with a stricter disclosure regime, including new provisions aimed at redressing gender-based pay inequity. At the close of 2020, the Rocky Mountain Association of Recruiters (Rocky Mountain) brought a lawsuit challenging those provisions and framing the CEPEWA as an undue burden. On May 27, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado weighed in, with Judge William Martínez rejecting Rocky Mountain’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have prohibited enforcement of the CEPEWA.

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Summary of New California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave – What Employers Need to Know

On March 19, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 95, which extends and expands employer requirements to provide supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) to employees impacted by COVID-19. SB 95 goes into effect on March 29, 2021, (i.e., 10 days after being signed by Gov. Newsom) and adds sections 248.2 and 248.3 to the California Labor Code.

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