Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“Colorado HELP”) Rules

7 CCR 1103-10 (Adopted and effective as temporary or emergency rules on March 11, 2020, then amended March 26, 2020, and April 3, 2020, as detailed below.):

Update 4-3-2020: this page has been updated to reflect April 3rd amendments that add coverage for “food and beverage manufacturing.”

Update 3-26-20: this page has been updated to reflect March 26th amendments that add coverage for (A) “retail establishments that sell groceries” and (B) those “under instructions from a health care provider to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19” even if not being tested. This page will be updated as events related to the State of Disaster Emergency declared by Governor Polis evolve.

Información en español puede ser encontrada al final de la página web.

This page will be updated as events related to the State of Disaster Emergency declared by Governor Polis evolve.

Rule Documents

Press Releases

Frequently Asked Questions

What do these rules do?

  • Temporarily requires employers in certain industries (listed below) to provide a small amount of paid sick leave to employees with flu-like symptoms who are being tested for coronavirus COVID-19 or, as of March 26, 2020, employees who are under instructions from a health care provider to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19.

Which employees and employers are covered by these sick leave rules?

  • Employers and employees in one of the following industries or jobs are covered:
    • Leisure and hospitality
    • Retail stores that sell groceries (as of March 26, 2020)
    • Food and beverage manufacturing (as of April 3, 2020)
    • Food services
    • Child care
    • Education, including transportation, food service, and related work with educational establishments
    • Home health, if working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high-risk individuals
    • Nursing homes
    • Community living facilities

    For descriptions of the covered industries, see the bottom of this page

  • Workers are covered regardless of pay rate or method (hourly, weekly, piece rate, etc.); the daily pay during leave is either their established daily rate or, if their pay fluctuates, their average daily pay for the past month.

Is my business or employer covered if only a portion of the business falls under a listed industry?

  • Yes, for employees working in that portion of the business. Because the rule covers “any employer engaged in the field of” each listed category, any business with a sub-division or sub-unit engaged in a listed category -- like a business with a cafeteria that qualifies as “food services” -- must provide paid sick leave under these rules, but only to the employees working in that sub-division or sub-unit. 

Last week, I was instructed to quarantine or isolate myself by a healthcare professional due to a risk of having COVID-19. Does my employer have to pay me sick leave?

  • Yes, if: a) your employer falls under a covered industry, and b) you are missing scheduled work. Employers need to pay only time, up to four days of scheduled work, that you are missing while completing the quarantine or isolation due to a risk of having COVID-19.
  • If an employee was not previously covered under these rules until the March 26, 2020, addition of grocery retailers and those instructed to quarantine/isolate without being tested, time missed from scheduled work on or after March 26th, should be paid, up to four days. For such an employee, work missed before March 26th, is not eligible to be paid under these rules, because that time was not covered until March 26th.

My business or employer was not covered until recently. Does time out sick under these rules need to be paid for time taken before these recent changes?

  • No, if an employee has completed a COVID-19 test and received the results before the amended rules covered your industry, that time is not covered under these rules.

How much paid sick leave must be provided?

  • The employer must provide up to four days of paid sick leave to employees with flu-like symptoms who are being tested for coronavirus COVID-19 or who are under instruction from a health care provider to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19. If the employee receives a negative test result before the end of four days, the paid leave ends. 
  • The four days are four “calendar” days. For example, if an employee falls ill on a Thursday or is told by a health care provider to quarantine or isolate, and makes plans to get tested, then the maximum is Thursday through Sunday -- and the employee gets paid only for those days they actually would have worked. If the employee was not going to work during all four or fewer days they are awaiting results, the employee is paid for those days they actually would have worked.

What documentation can the employer request?

  • The employer may -- but is not required to -- require the employee to submit the following documentation from a health care provider to support the employee’s need to take paid sick leave under the HELP rules:
  1. From the health care provider who prescribed the COVID-19 test or instructed the employee to quarantine or isolate: (a) any document(s) sufficient to show the name, contact information, and type of health care provider (family doctor, medical clinic, hospital, etc.), the provider’s prescription for a COVID-19 test, and the date of that prescription, or their instruction to quarantine or isolate, and the date of those instructions; (b) or, if documents showing all of the above are not available to the employee, whatever documents are available plus a written affirmation from the employee stating whichever of the above items are not available in documents.
  2. From the provider of the COVID-19 test: (a) any document(s) sufficient to show the name, contact information, and type of provider (lab, medical clinic, hospital, etc.), that a COVID-19 test was performed, and the date of that test; (b) or, if documents showing all of the above are not available to the employee, whatever documents are available plus a written affirmation from the employee stating whichever of the above items are not available in documents.

The above documentation does not have to be in any particular form, need not be sworn as affidavits, and can be duplicates rather than originals. And the employee can redact any personal or medical information that is not part of the above-requested information.

What notice must an employee provide?

  • Unless they are too ill to communicate, employees must (a) give notice of their absence as soon as possible, (b) give notice of getting a COVID-19 test, or receiving instructions from a healthcare professional to quarantine or isolate within 24 hours of being prescribed the test or instructions, and (c) provide any documentation that the employer requests by the sooner of (i) the end of their illness or (ii) their return to work.

Do employers who already provide paid leave need to provide an additional four days of sick leave? 

  • No. If an employer already provides the paid leave necessary to meet these rules’ requirements, then the employer does not need to provide additional leave. However, if an employer does not already provide enough paid sick leave to comply with these rules, it will have to provide additional paid sick leave to meet the rules’ requirements. And if an employee already exhausted any paid leave allotted by the employer, but then has flu-like symptoms and is being tested for COVID-19 or is under instructions from a health care provider to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19, he or she is entitled to the additional paid sick days these rules provide.

What do I do if my employer doesn’t allow the paid sick days required by these rules?

  • Always follow the advice of your medical provider, including getting tested for COVID-19, and self-quarantining in the meantime. If you are an employee who is owed paid sick leave under the HELP Rules, file a complaint with the Division for the wages.

How long will these rules stay in effect?

  • The updated rules take effect April 3, 2020, for 30 days, or longer if the state of emergency declared by the Governor continues.

Why were these rules created?

  • With the continuing spread of coronavirus COVID-19, coming to work while ill poses a serious threat to the health and safety of co-workers, others at the business, and the public generally. These rules will temporarily entitle certain employees to paid sick days in order to limit the spread of this disease.

Will additional funds be available for workers who need to be out of work longer than four days?

  • The current emergency rules only speak to paid leave for the four-day period required for testing, because that is what CDLE could do immediately. The Governor has asked CDLE to identify other potential supports and wage replacement, such as access to unemployment insurance. These options are under review to determine rulemaking authority, eligibility, etc.

What is the legal authority for these rules?

For many decades, it has been “unlawful to employ workers in any occupation within this state under conditions of labor detrimental to their health or morals” (Colorado Revised Statutes (“C.R.S.”) 8-6-104), and Colorado has declared in law that “[t]he welfare of the state of Colorado demands that workers be protected from conditions of labor that have a pernicious effect on their health and morals, and it is therefore declared ... that inadequate wages and unsanitary conditions of labor exert such pernicious effect” (C.R.S. 8-6-101(1)). 

In accord with those legislative mandates, the Division has a range of rulemaking and enforcement authority to protect against workplace health and safety threats, including but not limited to: C.R.S. 8-1-111 (authority “to enforce all provisions of law relating” to laws and orders “requiring … places of employment to be safe, and requiring the protection of the life, health, and safety of every employee”); C.R.S. 8-6-106 (authority to “determine … standards of conditions of labor and hours of employment not detrimental to health or morals for workers”); C.R.S 8-6-109(1) (authority to set minimum wage terms upon finding that “conditions of employment ... are detrimental to the health or morals … of workers”).

Further, the State of Disaster Emergency declared on March 10, 2020, by Colorado Governor Jared Polis, as the number of identified coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Colorado and in the United States increased:

(1)    announced numerous measures to protect public health and safety, including directing that immediate rulemaking be initiated to provide employees in certain industries with paid sick leave for possible coronavirus cases and testing; and 

(2)    supported such action pursuant to executive authority statutes, including but not limited to C.R.S. 24-33.5-704(2) (“Under this part 7, the governor may issue executive orders, proclamations, and regulations and amend or rescind them. Executive orders, proclamations, and regulations have the force and effect of law.”); C.R.S. 24-33.5-704.5(1)(e) (“In the event of an emergency epidemic that has been declared a disaster emergency, the [expert emergency epidemic response] committee shall convene as rapidly and as often as necessary to advise the governor, who shall act by executive order, regarding reasonable and appropriate measures to reduce or prevent spread of the disease, agent, or toxin and to protect the public health.”); and C.R.S. 24-33.5-711.5(2) (“The conduct and management of the affairs and property of each hospital, physician, health insurer or managed health care organization, health care provider, public health worker, or emergency medical service provider shall be such that they will reasonably assist and not unreasonably detract from the ability of the state and the public to successfully control emergency epidemics that are declared a disaster emergency. Such persons and entities that in good faith comply completely with board of health rules regarding the emergency epidemic and with executive orders regarding the disaster emergency shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for any action taken to comply with the executive order or rule.”).

Industry Descriptions


Includes the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation industries, and Accommodation and Food Services. For more information on Food Service, see below.

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: Establishments that operate facilities or provide services to meet varied cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests of their patrons. This sector comprises (1) establishments that are involved in producing, promoting, or participating in live performances, events, or exhibits intended for public viewing; (2) establishments that preserve and exhibit objects and sites of historical, cultural, or educational interest; and (3) establishments that operate facilities or provide services that enable patrons to participate in recreational activities or pursue amusement, hobby, and leisure-time interests. Examples:

  • Amusement parks
  • Museums
  • Zoos
  • Event Centers
  • Spectator Sports
  • Golf courses and Country Clubs
  • Skiing Facilities
  • Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers
  • Youth Sports Teams and Clubs

Accommodations, including the following establishments who provide lodging or short-term accommodations:

  1. Traveler Accommodation: traditional types of lodging services, such as hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfast inns.
  2. Recreational Accommodation: lodging facilities primarily designed to accommodate outdoor enthusiasts such as travel trailer campsites, recreational vehicle parks, and outdoor adventure retreats. 
  3. Rooming and Boarding Houses: establishments providing temporary or longer-term accommodations, that for the period of occupancy, may serve as a principal residence. Board (i.e., meals) may be provided but is not essential.


  • Hotels and Motels
  • Casino Hotels
  • RV Parks and Recreational Camps
  • Rooming and Boarding Houses


Places that prepare meals, snacks, and beverages to customer order for immediate on-premises and off-premises consumption. Included are special food services, such as food service contractors, caterers, and mobile food services; drinking places; and restaurants and other eating places. Food and beverage services at hotels and motels; amusement parks, theaters, casinos, country clubs, and similar recreational facilities; and civic and social organizations are included in this subsector only if these services are provided by a separate establishment primarily engaged in providing food and beverage services. Examples: 

  • Caterers
  • Cafeterias
  • Food Trucks
  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Coffee Shops
  • Carry-out Service Shops that have on-premise baking


Places that retail food and beverage merchandise, either fresh or preserved, from fixed point-of-sale locations. The food or beverages can be packaged, and intended for off-site consumption, but may include prepared food or drinks for immediate consumption on the premises. Covered retail establishments may have groceries as only part of their business, but are covered in their entirety. Examples:

  • Grocery Stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Retail Stores with a Grocery Section
  • Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores
  • Specialty Food Stores
  • Convenience Marts 
  • Gas Station Stores that sell food or beverages


Includes the following:

  • Animal food manufacturing
  • Grain and oilseed milling (including vegetable oil, flour, rice, malt, breakfast cereal, and other starch)
  • Sugar, chocolate, and confectionery product manufacturing
  • Fruit, vegetable, and frozen food manufacturing, drying, and preserving,
  • Dairy product manufacturing (including milk, butter, cheese, dry/condensed/evaporated dairy products, ice cream, and other frozen dessert)
  • Animal slaughtering and processing seafood product processing (including meat processing, and rendering and meat byproduct processing)
  • Bakeries and bakery product manufacturing (whether retail or commercial bakeries, and whether frozen or non-frozen, and including bread, tortillas, cakes, pastries, cookies, crackers, and pasta)
  • Snack food manufacturing (including nuts and nut butters)
  • Coffee, tea, flavoring syrup, and concentrate manufacturing
  • Seasoning and dressing manufacturing (including mayonnaise, dressing, sauce, spices, and extracts)
  • Perishable prepared food manufacturing
  • Beverage manufacturing (including soft drinks, bottled water, and ice)
  • Breweries, wineries, and distilleries
  • and other food and beverage manufacturing.


Establishments primarily engaged in provided day care of infants or children. These establishments generally care for preschool children, but may care for older children when they are not in school and may also offer pre-kindergarten educational programs Examples:

  • Nursery Schools
  • Preschool Centers
  • Child Day Care Babysitting Services
  • Child or Infant Day Care Centers


Establishments that provide teaching, instruction, and/or training in a wide variety of subjects, including schools, colleges, universities, training centers, and private tutoring/lessons businesses. These establishments may be public, private, for-profit, or non-profit. Covered jobs include employees involved in transportation (e.g., school bus or campus bus drivers), food service (e.g., school cafeterias), and other work similarly related to educational establishments. Examples: 

  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • Training Centers
  • Trade Schools
  • Cosmetology and Barber schools
  • Lessons, Tutoring, and Exam Preparation
  • Fine Arts Schools
  • Junior Colleges
  • Computer Training
  • Apprenticeship Training


Continuing Care Retirement Communities: Establishments providing a range of residential and personal care services with on-site nursing care facilities for: (1) the elderly and other persons who are unable to fully care for themselves; and/or (2) the elderly and other persons who do not desire to live independently. Individuals live in a variety of residential settings with meals, housekeeping, social, leisure, and other services available to assist residents in daily living. Assisted living facilities with on-site nursing care facilities are included in this industry.

Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly: establishments primarily engaged in providing residential and personal care services (i.e., without on-site nursing care facilities) for: (1) the elderly or other persons who are unable to fully care for themselves and/or (2) the elderly or other persons who do not desire to live independently. The care typically includes room, board, supervision, and assistance in daily living, such as housekeeping services. Examples:

  • Assisted living facilities without on-site nursing care facilities
  • Rest homes without nursing care
  • Assisted living facilities for the elderly without nursing care


Establishments providing inpatient nursing and rehabilitative services, generally for an extended duration to individuals requiring nursing care, with a permanent core staff providing nursing and similar continuous personal care services. Examples:

  • Convalescent homes or convalescent hospitals (except psychiatric)
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living facilities for the elderly with nursing care
  • Rest homes with nursing care
  • Inpatient care hospices


Establishments providing skilled medical, nursing, and other health-related services in the home, along with a range of the following: personal care services; homemaker and companion services; physical therapy; medical social services; medications; medical equipment and supplies; counseling; 24-hour home care; occupation and vocational therapy; dietary and nutritional services; speech therapy; audiology; and high-tech care, such as intravenous therapy. Examples:

  • Home health care agencies
  • Visiting nurse associations
  • Home infusion therapy services
  • In-home hospice care services

Información Adicional En Español

A discreción del Gobernador de Colorado Jared Polis, CDLE público algunas reglas temporales empezando el 11 de marzo, 2020 que requieren que empleadores en ciertas industrias proporcionen a sus empleados pago por ausencias laborales debido a enfermedad a empleados con síntomas de la gripe y quienes están siendo evaluados por el coronavirus COVID-19.Las reglas temporales fueron actualizadas el 26 de marzo del 2020 para incluir la cobertura para (A) “tiendas al por menor que venden comestibles” y (B) esos quienes están “bajo instrucciones de un proveedor de cuidado de la salud de ponerse en cuarentena o aislarse debido al riesgo de padecer del COVID-19” sin tener que haber sido examinados. 

Los únicos empleados con el derecho a recibir pago por ausencias laborales debido a enfermedad son esos empleados con síntomas parecidos a la gripe que están ausentes del trabajo porque están siendo evaluados de coronavirus COVID-19, o quienes faltaron al trabajo bajo instrucciones de un proveedor de cuidado de la salud de ponerse en cuarentena o aislarse debido al riesgo de padecer del COVID-19. El empleado también debe trabajar en las siguientes industrias o sectores laborales:

  • Recreación y Hospitalidad 
  • Tiendas al por menor que venden comestibles (a partir del 26 de marzo del 2020)
  • Fabricación de alimentos y bebidas
  • Servicios de comida 
  • El cuidado de los niños
  • Educación, incluyendo servicios relacionados como la transportación, servicios de comida, y cualquier otro trabajo en un establecimiento educativo.  
  • Salud en el hogar, si es que están trabajando con ancianos, personas con discapacidades, los enfermos, o cualquier otro individuo de alto riesgo 
  • Residencias de Ancianos 
  • Instalaciones de residencia comunitarias  

Si una subparte del negocio cae bajo una de las industrias detalladas arriba, el empleado trabajando en esta subparte debe recibir pago por ausencias laborales debido a enfermedad bajo estas reglas. Todo tipo de empleados están cubiertos, sin importar si son empleados de tiempo completo o de medio tiempo. El único tiempo que necesita ser compensado es ese tiempo perdido mientras se completa la evaluación o para ponerse en cuarentena o aislarse debido al riesgo de padecer del COVID-19, hasta 4 días de trabajo.

Por más información o si tiene preguntas, puede llamar a nuestra línea de español, (303) 318-8981.


Contact Information for Colorado HELP

Press inquiries: Email
Employer or employee questions on substance of the Colorado Help: Call (303-318-8441) or Email