Amid the flurry of new 2020 guidelines and other pandemic precautions, you may have missed recent federal and Colorado temporary rules that require paid leave for COVID-19 absences.

Effective April 1 – Dec. 31, 2020, FFCRA mandates that private and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees provide 2 weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid leave for all workers who are unable to work (or telework) due to COVID-19 precautions. FFCRA provides additional paid leave by extending FMLA requirements. Employers are reimbursed dollar-for-dollar for qualifying FFCRA wages via payroll tax credits.

In July 2020, Colorado enacted HFWA, which mandates that all employers in the state provide paid leave for COVID-19 absences through the end of the year. HFWA includes additional paid leave requirements that will be effective in 2021 and 2022.

In this video, Diana and Karissa from ASAP Accounting & Payroll provide an overview of the changes and explain how to complete the redesigned W-4. All employees hired in 2020 must complete the new Form W-4; current employees may opt to complete the form to update their tax withholdings. For more information and resources on the 2020 W-4, visit our Help Center


5 ways to ensure you’re compliant with paid leave laws

1. Review FFCRA and HFWA resources to understand paid leave requirements

Yes, these laws are confusing; we’re still wrapping our heads around them! But, there are some great resources that summarize the key “need-to-know” info for employers:

  • ASAP Help Center: Check out our webinars, overviews, and FAQs on paid leave and other employment laws
  • DOL FFCRA Website: Scroll to the bottom of the page for a variety of resources, including paid leave FAQs, fact sheets, and more
  • HFWA INFO#6A: 4-page summary of requirements with examples and guidelines

2. Notify employees and display applicable paid leave posters

To satisfy notification requirements, provide your employees with copies of the following applicable posters via email and in your handbook, as well as display with the other labor law posters.

3. Revise paid leave policies to align with applicable laws

FFCRA & HFWA paid leave requirements are minimum — you can offer a more generous policy. Compassion, flexibility and understanding are paramount in navigating these challenging times. Don’t completely overhaul your employee handbook just yet – more Colorado labor laws changes are on the horizon.

4. Document, document, document

You must document all qualifying paid leave taken under FFCRA and HFWA. Create a leave request form and track qualifying hours and wages. This is especially important if you are planning to claim FFCRA tax credit. CDLE’s INFO#6A has a great summary of documentation requirements, which align with federal guidelines.

5. Notify your payroll processor and bookkeeper of FFCRA and/or HFWA qualifying wages

Wages paid under FFCRA and/or HFWA should be tracked separately, so it’s important that you communicate this information to those who are handling your payroll and books.