Colorado Leave Laws


Vacation Leave

In Colorado, an employer is not required to provide its employees with vacation benefits. CO Department of Labor and Employment – Vacation If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract and must pay employees for earned and determinable earned vacation leave. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-4-101(14)(a)(III).

Employers’ vacation policies may include any of the following:

  • whether there is any vacation pay at all
  • the amount of vacation pay per year or other period
  • whether vacation pay accrues all at once, proportionally each week, month, or other period
  • whether there is a cap of one year’s worth (or more) of vacation pay.

CO Regs 7 CCR 1103-7-2.17; see Cheyenne Mountain School District #12 v. Thompson, 861 P.2d 711 (Colo. Sup. Ct. 1993).

Employers must pay employees earned vacation leave upon separation from employment and may not lawfully enforce a policy or agreement denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-4-101(14)(a)(III); CO Dept. of Labor Vacation FAQ; see Hernandez v. Ray Domenico Farms, Inc., 414 P.3d 700 (Colo. 2018).

For purposes of furloughs, employers are not required to pay employees for unused earned vacation leave if the furlough is:

  • caused by a full or partial shutdown of employer operations, and
  • planned and genuinely expected to be not longer than 30 days OR any longer duration of a state of emergency declared by the state or federal government that required the shutdown.

CO Div. of Labor – Vacation


Sick Leave

Colorado law requires employers to provide employees with sick leave the details of which can be found on our Colorado Sick Leave Laws page.

An employer in Colorado may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.


Holiday Leave

Colorado law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In Colorado, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. An employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as one and a half (1½) times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime CO Department of Labor and Employment – Holiday Leave If a private employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

State holidays

Visit our Colorado State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Colorado as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.


Jury Duty Leave

Colorado laws require employers to pay regular employees up to $50 per day for first three (3) days of trial or grand juror service, unless the employer and employee have agreed otherwise to pay more. Regular employees include employees whose hours may be determined by a schedule, custom or practice established during the three-month period preceding the employee’s jury service. This includes:

  • part-time employees
  • temporary employees
  • casual employees

Colorado Stat. 13-71-126

An employer may not discharge, penalize, harass, threaten, coerce or substantially interfere with an employee for responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury. Colorado Stat. 13-71-134


Voting Leave

Colorado law requires employers to provide employees with up to two (2) hours of paid leave to vote, unless:

  • an employee has not requested the leave at least one day prior to the vote date, or
  • the employee has three (3) or more hours after the opening or before the closing of the polls during which the voter is not required to be on the job.

An employer may specify the hours an employee may take leave to vote, but the period must fall at the beginning or end of the work period if the employee so requests.

CO Stat. 1-7-102


Bereavement Leave

Colorado law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.


Colorado State Family and Medical Leave Laws

There are laws in Colorado that allow workers to take time off from work for various reasons.

Family and Medical Leave

Although Colorado does not have its own medical and family leave law, there is the FCA or Family Care Act. In addition, the definition of a family member is set by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Also, it includes partners in a civil union and domestic partners.

The FCA dictates that this type of leave runs concurrently with the FMLA. This means that workers in Colorado may not take 12 months off for the FCA and another 12 for the FMLA.

According to the federal FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off from work due to various reasons related to family and medical issues.

This can include, but is not limited to, bonding with and taking care of a new child, recovering from a severe health condition, taking care of a family member with a severe health issue, and various military-related leave issues.

Adoption Leave

Colorado has a special adoption leave law that requires all employers to allow their employees to take parental leave after the birth of a child and must adhere to these same laws for adopted children.

Small Necessities Leave

Colorado has its own law that states that any employer with a minimum of 50 employees must allow their workers who are the legal guardians of children who attend school to take time off from work for various reasons.

This includes attending parent-teacher conferences or meetings directly related to dropout prevention, truancy, disciplinary issues, attendance, or child special education.

All workers in Colorado can take up to six hours off any month, unpaid, and up to 18 hours of leave, also unpaid, in one school year. However, all workers must try to schedule these activities during non-work hours.

Domestic Violence Leave

Colorado has a domestic violence leave law, which states that any business with a minimum of 50 employees must allow all employees that have suffered domestic abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to receive up to three days of time off in one year.

Employees may take this time off to get a protection order or legal assistance, attend court, find new housing, secure a house, or get medical aid or counseling for the worker or the worker’s child.


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