There is no Colorado law that requires private sector employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid sick leave, although many employers do grant it as an important employee benefit. It is important to remember, however, that if sick leave is promised, an employer may have a legal obligation to grant it. Some courts have ruled, for example, that policies published in employee handbooks may constitute implied contracts, which are binding and enforceable. Employers should regularly review policy statements made in handbooks or elsewhere to ensure that they accurately reflect current policies. If not, they should be changed, and employees should be notified of the changes.
Colorado regulations require that public sector employees be granted paid sick leave for health reasons, including diagnostic and preventive examinations, treatment, and recovery. Full-time employees earn sick leave at a rate of 6.66 hours per month (sick leave for part-time employees is prorated). A doctor's certification may be required after three consecutive full working days of absence, or for absences of fewer days at the discretion of the employer. Accrued sick leave may be used for the health needs of the employee's child under the age of 18 or an adult child incapable of self-care, parent, spouse, legal dependent, or person in the household for whom the employee is the primary caregiver (CO Code Reg. Tit. 4 Sec. 801 P-5-5et seq.).