In 2020, Colorado voters passed proposition 118 instituting a state sponsored and operated Family and Medical Leave Insurance program (FAMLI). As of now, Colorado is one of the eleven states to have passed and implemented such a policy. Most workers will be eligible for the program after having made at least $2,500 in wages working in Colorado within the previous four calendar quarters. This program will provide these Colorado workers with up to twelve weeks of PTO to take care of themselves or family members during major life events. These potential events include:
- An accident or physical injury
- Serious illness
- Parental leave
- Arranging for a family member’s military deployment
- Attending to a family member’s health
The FAMLI is a social insurance enterprise program meaning it will be funded from both employers and employees. Employers and employees alike will begin making contributions in January 2023 with employees being able to apply for benefits beginning in 2024. The cost of premiums will remain contingent on the employee’s wages. Employees and employers will be required to pay 0.45% of the employee’s wages each pay period [for a combined 0.9%]. To put this into perspective, an employee who makes $100,000 annually will be contributing $8.65 each week ($450 annually); this will also need to be matched by the employer.
Premium payments for the FAMLI program will align with the same schedule as wage reports and unemployment insurance premiums. Therefore, the first installment of FAMLI premiums for quarter one will be due April 30, 2023. However, for the first installment of payments—and the first installment only—a grace period will allow employers to submit these payments up to 30 days late.
Small businesses with less than ten employees will not be required to make the employer’s portion of contributions, however, employees will still be required to contribute their portion of 0.45% (Employers are allowed to cover an employee’s contribution as an added perk of employment). An employer count will occur once a year which will determine if the employer must participate or not. This count will check for the number of employees that worked for twenty or more workweeks in the preceding calendar year. For instance, if ten or more employees worked twenty or more workweeks in 2022, the employer must contribute for all four quarters of 2023. Employees that were on leave in 2022 would count towards the tally if they were expected to return (paid/unpaid leave, medical leave, disciplinary suspension, and other leaves of absence).
It should be noted that small businesses can opt out of the program if they already provide a privately funded paid leave program that offers the same or more benefits than the FAMLI program. Currently, there is a lit of rules pertaining to the requirements of private plans. As of now, these rules haven’t been officially adopted, however, they still offer a guideline and expectation of what the final resolution may look like:
- Provide the same number of weeks of benefits as FAMLI
- Include no additional requirements or conditions than FAMLI; cannot deny benefits to new employees
- Cover all employees localized in Colorado throughout the duration of employment
- Cover the same level of wage replacement and deduct no more than FAMLI from the employee paychecks
- Application process is no more burdensome than the FAMLI benefit application process
All private employers will pay premiums starting in 2023, but may qualify for a refund of those premiums if they have an approved private plan by or before January 1, 2024. It’s important to note that private plan applications must be submitted and received by October 31, 2023.
Self-employed employees and independent contractors are also eligible for the FAMLI program if they opt in and participate in making contributions.
Severance pay is also subject to employer contributions regardless of if paid in lump sums or installments.
The FAMLI Division will host a rulemaking public hearing to consider proposed and/or adopted rules. The hearing will take place on Monday, October 17, 2022, beginning at 5 p.m. The hearing will take place virtually via Zoom, and potential attendees can RSVP and reserve their place to testify by filling out this form. However, attendance is not required, and any comments submitted using the form will also be considered with as much consideration as a live attendee. The period for submitting comments closes on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, at 8 a.m.
For more information, please visit the Colorado Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI) website. You may also visit the Employer Webinar Series site or the FAMLI YouTube channel for further resources. Any questions or suggestions can be submitted to [email protected]. If you’re interested in registering early for your FAMLI account on the website portal (My FAMLI+ Employer), you may fill out this form. All employers will be required to register regardless of participation; the deadline for registration is the same date that wage reports and premium payments are due at the end of the first quarter (April 30, 2023).