Press Release: Employees Are Entitled to Paid Sick Leave to Get Vaccinated

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For Immediate Release
Date: April 20, 2021
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations -

State Labor Dept: Employees Are Entitled to Paid Sick Leave to Get Vaccinated

(DENVER) — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) is reminding Colorado workers that under Colorado paid sick leave law, all employees in Colorado have a right to take paid leave from work to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Employees are also entitled to use paid leave if they experience vaccine side effects that prevent them from working.

Under the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (“HFWA”), which took effect immediately once signed into law by Governor Jared Polis on July 14, 2020, all employers must provide paid leave for a range of health needs. That includes any time off required for “preventative care,” such as vaccination that prevents an employee from working due to a workday appointment and/or experiencing side effects afterwards. Vaccination side effects can be hard to distinguish from the wide range of possible symptoms of COVID-19 itself, and HFWA provides time off for anyone “experiencing symptoms of” COVID-19. The employee needs to notify the employer “as soon as practicable” — which, for vaccination side effects, may not be much time in advance — and the employer needs to keep the employee on payroll during the leave.

Employers cannot require employees to obtain vaccination appointments outside work hours. For paid leave related to COVID-19 needs, employers can ask employees for documentation only if the leave is for four or more consecutive work days. For more information, employees, employers, or others can review the CDLE Division of Labor Standards and Statistics fact sheet, INFO #6B, “2021 Paid Leave under HFWA”. For any specific questions, or to request an investigation of a possible violation, Coloradans can call or email the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics at the contact information on that fact sheet.

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