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Colorado Springs businesses fear new paid time off law will force closures, layoffs

Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Small businesses in Colorado Springs are working to figure out how they will implement the state's newest law that requires access to paid time off for all Coloradans.

Gov. Jared Polis signed the Health Families and Workplaces Act into law on Tuesday. It comes as Colorado continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses across the state continue to struggle financially.

The new act mandates all employers in Colorado to provide up to 48 hours of paid sick leave. Employees can earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. A full-time employee would be eligible to use 48 hours of sick leave every year. Part-time employees are also required to have access to paid time off.

According to the bill text, the paid sick leave can be used for mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition. It can also be used if you need to take care of a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition.

Reanna Werner is a Small Business Development Center Consultant and the owner of HR Branches. Werner said Colorado business owners want to help their employees but are concerned about how they will implement the new law.

“I would say most employers are excited to offer their employees another opportunity to take care of themselves and their wellbeing," Werner explained. "But employees do also have to understand that this is a real concern for their employers and there is a financial impact, and this will impact the sustainability and or even the viability of a lot of businesses.”

Werner believes local business owners face a number of challenges, partially due to how quickly the legislation evolved and was enacted by the governor.

“This hasn’t been budgeted for by any small businesses here or in the state of Colorado. And then you throw the COVID pandemic in with this. And small businesses — and even large businesses are getting new legislation thrown at them at a very fast pace," Werner said.

The new paid time off requirement mandates companies to keep detailed records of all employees' sick leave to prove the business is in compliance.

“All of these dollars are adding up. We’re already starting to see small business closures — and this will multiple it," Werner said. "Small businesses can’t sustain themselves through much more.” 

Most employers will need to begin offering paid sick leave to all employees by January 1, 2021. Businesses or organizations with fewer employees will be required to comply with the law by 2022.

Local News / Money / News

Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is an investigative reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.



  1. BS. Sounds like their business model is flawed and they need to go out of business. This is the result of marketing the springs as high skill low wages.

    1. Yup. If you can’t take care of your employees you shouldn’t be in business. End of discussion.

  2. You’re correct! Simply lower wages for more time off. Budget balanced. But most of the “workers party” have never had to balance a budget!

  3. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
    And businesses always find ways to survive without all the dire predictions ever happening.

    1. Really? Lol. All businesses find ways to survive? You’re just ignoring all the businesses that have closed permanently due to Covid? Or is that different? Because I bet you said the same thing months ago!

  4. I think this legislation should apply only to businesses producing
    above a certain income line.
    This could and likely will destroy many mom and pops. Possibly a lower benefit for smaller businesses. Too hastily pronounced-I don’t think a lot of thought was behind this.

  5. This only affected the “40%” of companies that felt like removing sick time from their benefits packages to their employees could be done away with to make sure the CEO’s, board members, and shareholders could squeeze out more profit from their personnel. Then these companies that utilized these tactics begin crying because they have to take care of their staff?
    On top of that companies with less than 16 employees get an extra year to plan accordingly.
    Remember when companies and businesses viewed their most valuable asset of their company was their employees?
    Do the right thing always, even when no one is looking, because you never know when karma decides to knock on your door.
    No sympathy for these companies being required to take care of their staff. At what point did it become acceptable to not do so should be the question.
    Another question is how many other items like this have been done away for the benefit of the tops of these companies, while taking away from the actual workers.

    1. Well said!! Employers have no loyalty any more and don’t reward good employees. I don’t feel a bit sorry for businesses regarding this legislation. Not one little bit.

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