Voters Pass Statewide Family and Medical Leave Statute

On November 3, 2020, voters passed Proposition 118, an initiated state statute (that is, a statute passed directly by the voters, rather than through the legislature) which establishes a family and medical leave program that provides up to 16 weeks of paid leave.

Starting on January 1, 2023, each employer in the state must remit a payroll tax for each employee in an amount equal to 0.9% of the employee’s wage to a state fund established to pay for the leave taken by employees under this law. Although the employer is responsible for remitting the tax, the cost of the tax is split 50/50 between the employer and employee. After the first two years, this tax may be increased or adjusted up to a cap of 1.2% of the employee’s wage.

Starting on January 1, 2024, employees who have earned at least $2,500 at their jobs can take family and medical leave under this law. The law ensures that employees who take this leave receive insurance benefits as well as up to $1,100 per week in wages. The pay is tied to the state average weekly wage, so it may increase or decrease year to year. In addition, the employee can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave (plus an extra four weeks for pregnancy and childbirth complications). This leave can be taken intermittently if such leave is already provided for by the employer.

The employee can take this leave for any of the following reasons:

  • Caring for their own serious health condition
  • Caring for a new child during the first year after the birth or adoption or for foster care of a new child
  • Caring for a family member with a serious health condition
  • When a family member is on active duty military service or is called for active-duty military service
  • When the individual or the individual’s family member is a victim of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault

Finally, employers cannot retaliate against employees who request or take this leave. If the employee has worked for the employer for at least 180 days, then the employee is entitled to return to the same or similar position after the leave is taken.

Colorado employers should be aware of this new law.

Proposition 118 »