FAQs

 

 
 

 

Your Unemployment Account

I had to close my business or greatly reduce my services. Will I be charged for benefits paid to my employees?

No, if you pay premiums based on your employees wages and the reason the employee filed the claim is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, benefits will not be charged to your account.

If you are a reimbursing employer who only pays for benefits paid, you will be charged for 50 percent of the benefits charged. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act provides for the Federal Treasury to pay the other half through 12/31/20.

My employee tested positive for Coronavirus and filed for unemployment while quarantined. Will those benefits be charged to my account?

No. To receive regular unemployment benefits, the worker must be able and available to return to work. However, a federal law goes into effect on April 2 requiring many employers to pay sick time. Review this fact sheet for more information.

If the employee remains sick or under quarantine beyond the time that Emergency Sick Leave or Family Medical Leave runs out, the individual may be eligible for the expanded unemployment benefits available through the CARES Act. Any benefits paid under those programs will not be charged to your account.

I am unable to submit my quarterly unemployment reports and premium payment because me or my family members are in quarantine or my business operations are severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. What do I do?

The Unemployment Insurance Division will consider your reports timely and waive any late fees or interest accrued. Contact us at cdle_employer_services@state.co.us or 303-318-9100 and submit the reports when you can.

What would the employer need to do on it's part so that the paperwork is correct?

For unemployment insurance, the employer receives at least two forms after a claim is filed. One shows the wages reported for the named employee and also the potential charges to your account, please review this form against your wage records and make sure wages are correct for the time period shown. Follow the instructions if a correction is needed.

The second form asks for the reason the named employee is not working. Please complete the form and return it by the deadline. If an employer is signed up for SIDES, the requests for these forms may be sent electronically.

How do I sign up to return claim forms electronically?

An employer can respond to claim and job-separation forms electronically in MyUI Employer

Once you log in, choose Email Notifications from the main landing page. An employer can sign up for e-Response Notifications and choose which responses they would like to do electronically. See the MyUI Employer User Guide for more detailed instructions.

What if my business is exempt from normally paying unemployment premiums, but we would like to set up an account to cover our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A business normally exempt from paying unemployment premiums may voluntarily elect to provide coverage for their employees. To voluntarily elect, an employer needs to complete an Application for Unemployment Insurance Account and Determination of Employer Liability (UITL-100) and Voluntary Election to Become a Liable Employer, (UITL-27). If also a nonprofit 501c3, the employer needs to complete the UI Payment Election (UITR-13). All forms can be downloaded from the Employer Forms & Publication page.

Send the completed forms to cdle_employer_services@state.co.us. We can backdate the election to 1/1/19. The election is in place for a minimum of two calendar years.

The employer will then be sent the premium and wage reports for all four 2019 calendar quarters. Complete and submit the quarterly reports with premium payments to make wages available for claims. The employer will need to submit reports for all of 2020 to complete the two calendar years.

Layoffs

I would like to avoid a layoff if possible. Can the Work Share Program help me? 

Yes, the Work Share program lets businesses temporarily reduce the hours of their employees, instead of laying them off during economic downturns. Technically referred to as short time compensation, the goal of work sharing programs is to reduce unemployment. The Division of Unemployment Insurance offers a Work-Share Program as an alternative to laying off your employees. Visit the web site to see if your business qualifies.

A layoff is necessary. How can the Department of Labor and Employment assist me?

Employers experiencing a reduction in workforce are eligible for support services including consultation on layoff aversion strategies, onsite workshops for employees in transition, job placement assistance, and information on unemployment benefits. Our Rapid Response program provides more information here.

What is the turn-around time for an employer to apply for the Work Share Program?

We will process your application within a week after receiving it.

I need to reduce hours for my workers temporarily. Can they file for unemployment benefits and will those be charged to my account?

Yes, employees whose hours have been reduced can file for unemployment benefits. If the reason for the reduction in hours is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, benefits will not be charged to your account. If you reimburse the division for benefits charged, you will have to pay 50% of the benefits charged. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act provides for the Federal Treasury to pay the other half through 12/31/20.

Can the employer "furlough" the employees (rather than terminate) and would this qualify as the employees being "job attached" meaning they would be expected to return to the employer in up to 16 weeks. Would these furloughed employees be able to get unemployment benefits?

Yes. An employee who has been temporarily laid off or furloughed should file an unemployment claim and indicate that he or she expects to return to work, which would make them job attached.

Do I have to pay my employees their PTO when I temporarily lay them off?

No. If you plan to bring your employees back to work, you are not required to pay PTO or vacation pay.

Can I require my employees to take vacation time or PTO?

You may require them to take vacation time or PTO. If you pay them for this time, it may affect when unemployment benefits can start.

Can I continue to pay my employees health care benefits while they are laid off?

Yes, you may continue to pay for employee's health care benefits. It will not have an impact on their unemployment benefits because it is not counted as earnings.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Other Leave

What paid sick leave am I required to pay my employees?

Workers in certain industries are eligible for up to four days of paid sick leave when experiencing flu-like symptoms AND awaiting test results for COVID-19 or under instructions from a health care provider to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19. The covered industries are:

  • Leisure and hospitality.
     
  • Food services.
     
  • Retail establishments that sell groceries.
     
  • Child care.
     
  • Education, including transportation, food service, and related work at educational establishments.
     
  • Home health, if working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high-risk individuals.
     
  • Nursing homes and community living facilities.

A federal law also goes into effect on April 2 requiring many employers to pay sick time. Review this fact sheet for more information.

If I pay my employee according to the new paid Family Medical Leave and Emergency Sick Leave, can the employee also collect unemployment at the same time?

No. We will not pay benefits to claimants who are eligible for other similar benefits that are made available by the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If the employee runs out of the paid Family Medical Leave and/or Emergency Sick Leave, the employee may be able to file a claim for the expanded unemployment benefits made available through the CARES Act.

How does the Families First Coronavirus Response Act affect me?

The FFCRA amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to provide up to 12 weeks of job protected leave – 10 of which are paid, subject to a cap–to employees who have a – "qualifying need related to a public health emergency."

This new type of leave can be used by an employee who is unable to work due to a need to care for an employee's child under 18 years of age. The FFCRA does not provide leave to an employee who is still able to telework.

For more information about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, please review this fact sheet.

Paid Leave and Unemployment

My hours and wages have been reduced, but I plan on returning to my previous job. What resources are available to me?

You might be eligible for unemployment benefits depending on the circumstances of your reduced wages or hours. The CARES Act provides additional benefits to those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits and to those who are gig workers, self-employed, or otherwise might not qualify for unemployment benefits. It also provides an additional $600/week, through July, for all eligible unemployment claimants in addition to unemployment benefits which are up to more than half of a worker's weekly wages.

More information on the types of unemployment available can be found here.

To file a claim visit www.coloradoui.gov.

What if my employer is requiring me to return to work but I don't feel safe?

Per Safer at Home Executive Order D 2020 044, no vulnerable individuals can be compelled by their employer to return to work if their work requires in person work near others.
 

Employers must accommodate vulnerable individuals with remote work options, if the work can be done remotely.
 

If you refuse to return to work and quit due to unsatisfactory or hazardous working conditions, you may be eligible for unemployment to the degree of risk involved to your health.
 

If an employer requires work from an employee entitled to paid leave (due to illness or a quarantine/isolation order) under the Colorado HELP Rules, that would be unlawful under those rules, and should be reported to the contact information at the bottom of these FAQs.
 

Any other possible violations of social distancing, or other health and safety orders, should be reported to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration or County health officials. https://www.osha.gov/contactus/bystate/CO/areaoffice

I am a vulnerable population that the Governor has mandated to continue to stay home, but my employer wants me to come back to work.

Per Safer at Home Executive Order D 2020 044 no vulnerable individuals can be compelled by their employer to return to work if their work requires in person work near others.

If the workplace is particularly unsafe -- e.g., if it had an outbreak -- unemployment benefits might be available, depending on the facts, and OSHA safety rules might limit requirements to return.

Can my employer discriminate against me for being a vulnerable population?

No, it's illegal to discriminate against a vulnerable individual based on disability, age, or pregnancy, and employers should offer accommodations such as telework where possible.
 

Anyone believing they have been discriminated against or not accommodated should contact Colorado Civil Rights Division or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

My workplace wants me to come back but with schools closed I have no childcare, what are my options?

Per Safer at Home Executive Order D 2020 044 employers must make accommodations to the greatest extent possible for workers who are experiencing a lack of childcare due to school closures- such accommodations include but are not limited to remote work options and or flexible scheduling.
 

Federal law now provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave for childcare needs due to a coronavirus-related closure of a school or childcare establishment.
 

The CARES Act also provides unemployment benefits under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to those unable to work due to COVID-19.

Am I eligible for paid leave for possible COVID-19 or quarantine/isolation orders?

Federal law requires up to two weeks paid leave for those at employers with fewer than 500 employees (though some employers with 50 or fewer employees may be exempt). The Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay Rules (Colorado HELP Rules) adds coverage for all workers in the following, regardless of employer size:

  • leisure and hospitality (arts, entertainment, recreation, hotels/motels, and other accommodations).
     
  • food services (restaurants, coffee shops, bars, caterers, cafeterias, etc.).
     
  • retail establishments (of all kinds).
     
  • real estate sales and leasing.
     
  • other office workers (both employers that operate entirely in offices and, at mainly non-office employers (e.g., factories), the subset of employees who are office workers).
     
  • elective medical, dental, and health services.
     
  • personal care services (defined as hair, beauty, spas, massage, tattoos, pet care, or substantially similar services).
     
  • food and beverage manufacturing.
     
  • child care.
     
  • education at all levels (including related services, including but not limited to cafeterias and transportation to, from, and on campuses).
     
  • home health care working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high-risk individuals.
     
  • nursing homes and community living facilities.
What conditions qualify for paid leave?

Employees with flu-like or respiratory illness symptoms who are either (1) being tested for COVID-19 or (2) under instructions from a health care provider or authorized government official to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19. The requirement to provide paid sick leave ends if an employee receives a negative COVID-19 test result.

Federal law provides paid leave for child care needs due to coronavirus-caused closures of schools or child care establishments, or the need to care for an individual subject to quarantine.

How much paid leave is required?

If the federal paid leave rules apply (for most employees at employers with fewer than 500 employees): Two weeks of pay (up to 80 hours) at the employee's regular pay rate.

If the federal paid leave rules do not apply (for employers above 500 employees, and some below 50), but the Colorado HELP Rules do: Two weeks of pay (up to 80 hours) at two-thirds of the employee's regular pay rate.

Federal law provides two weeks of pay at two-thirds of the employee's regular rate for child care needs due to coronavirus-caused closures of schools or child care establishments, or the need to care for an individual subject to quarantine. An additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds of the employee's regular rate is available for child care needs due to coronavirus-caused closures of schools or child care establishments.

Where can I learn more or ask questions about paid leave, discrimination/accommodation, or workplace safety?

For the federal paid leave rules applicable to employers with fewer than 500 employees: read this U.S. Department of Labor information page, then call 1-866-487-9243 or (720) 264-3250 with any remaining questions.

For the Colorado HELP Rules applicable to employers of all size in the industries listed above: read this Colorado Department of Labor and Employment page on the Colorado HELP Rules, then call (303) 318-8441 or email cdle_labor_standards@state.co.us with any remaining questions.

For information on workplace discrimination and accommodation, contact the Colorado Civil Rights Division or the local office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

For workplace safety issues and violations, contact the local office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.