The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently extended its determination that a public health emergency exists due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 12, 2022, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra announced the renewal of the public health emergency determination. This latest renewal took effect on April 16, 2022, and is effective until July 16, 2022, pending another renewal or a determination that the emergency has ended.

As a result, the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) requirement to supplement employees’ regular paid sick leave in certain circumstances related to a public health emergency will remain in effect until August 13, 2022, at the earliest. This supplemental sick leave continues “until four weeks after the official termination or suspension of the public health emergency.”

This latest renewal was expected, as HHS did not give any indication that it would be terminating the public health emergency declaration for COVID-19. Previously, HHS had advised state governors that it would provide the states with sixty days’ notice prior to ending the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has also advised that its Division of Labor and Statistics plans to update its webpage immediately when the current public health emergency ends and the four-week period under the HFWA begins. Currently, the Division’s webpage regarding HFWA requirements confirms that employers’ obligation to provide public health emergency leave is “still in effect.”

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center and Colorado blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.


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Leaves of Absence/Reasonable Accommodation

Managing leaves and reasonably accommodating employees can be complex, frustrating, and expose employers to legal peril. Employers must navigate a bewildering array of state and federal statutes, with seemingly contradictory mandates.

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