Colorado Employment Law Update

Colorado Employment Law Update


There are several laws going into effect in 2021 that will affect businesses in Colorado. Businesses should make an effort to stay up to date with these laws to ensure that they are in compliance and decrease any risk or liability that comes with being out of compliance. Two notable laws that will have a significant impact on Colorado businesses are the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act and the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act. Discussed below are some important aspects of each of these laws and things that business should be on the look out for.

Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

Effective January 1, 2021, the Equal Pay Act applies to all employers in Colorado. Among other things the law requires that employees be paid equal pay for substantially similar work. Importantly, the law prohibits pay disparity on the basis of sex and other protected statuses. However, there are a number of instances where pay disparity is allowed, including based on:

  • Seniority or tenure
  • A merit-based system
  • A quality or quantity-based system
  • Geographic location
  • Job-related education and training
  • Required travel

Regarding job postings, employers must include the offered pay or a pay range in any posting and a general description of other types of compensation involved. The law states that any employment opportunities within the company must be advertised to all employees on the same day. Also notable is that employers may not ask about an applicant’s wage history during the interview process, nor can it use any self-disclosed information to determine the applications wage.

Healthy Families & Workplaces Act (HFWA)

The HFWA was signed into law in 2020, however there are important updates as of this year that will affect more employers. Beginning in 2021, phase II of the HFWA requires employers with 16 or more employees to provide up to 48 hours of paid sick leave to their employees. Employers can either grant the full amount of hours up front or allow employees to accrue 1 hour of sick leave per 30 hours worked. Employers who already provide at least 48 hours of sick leave to their employees do not need to provide additional sick leave as they are already in compliance. Under the Act, exempt employees are assumed to work 40 hours per week for the purposes of sick leave accrual. An employee who doesn’t use any accrued sick leave in one year may carry up to 48 hours over to the following year.

The Act also specifies that during a public health emergency, employees must receive an additional two-weeks of paid sick leave. Lastly, beginning in January of 2022, the HFWA will apply to all employers, not just those with a set number of employees.

There are other aspects of each of these laws not covered in this article and the actual text of the laws can be viewed here: HFWA & Equal Pay Act. For questions about how these laws might affect your business, please reach out to Miles Williams at View our services to see how MW Legal Group can assist your business in 2021.

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