Frequently Asked Questions

Employers

No. The program is a social insurance, and the State pays your employee (the claimant) a portion of their weekly wages directly through a debit card or direct deposit. 

As the employer, you are not responsible for the salary or wages while someone is on leave. However, any portion of employee healthcare, retirement, or other benefits you normally cover; you are required to continue. You may choose to require the employee to continue to pay their share of their contribution to these benefits while they are on leave. 

While an employee is on leave, employers are not responsible for paying wages at that time. Because of this, you may have access to vacancy savings to spend as needed. Optionally, as an employer you may, but are not required to, contract with a temporary worker to supplement your staffing needs.

Your employee will only be receiving a portion of their paycheck dependent on their average weekly wage and not the full amount. The benefit is capped at $1,100.00 a week. Employees are not required to use earned paid time off (PTO) before taking leave under the FAMLI program, but employers may allow employees to use their accrued PTO to “top off” or cover the remaining balance of their typical weekly wage in order to “make whole” their take-home pay while on leave. 

This decision lies with the  employer. As best practice, being honest with the temporary worker that their position may be limited to cover temporary leave for another employee will be helpful. 

However, depending on the permanent employee’s circumstances and reason for taking leave, it is possible another federal law such as the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) would be relevant to the employee's new life circumstances, and a partial return to work/job sharing model may exist for a time. If time was spent onboarding the temporary worker, having them available during a transition or for another event may be helpful and can save time and effort

Even a single employee vacancy can be a strain for a businesses’ daily operations. Businesses may have other employees share the workload from the employee taking leave. While an employee is on leave, employers have access to vacancy savings. Employers may use vacancy savings from an employee on leave to provide a bonus or hazard pay for other employees who take on additional work. 

Overall, FAMLI is a shared fee between employers and employees based on .9% of wages. This rate is set through 2025 by Proposition 118, voted in by 57% of Coloradans as the authorizing vote of the people to create the FAMLI enterprise fund.

Employers are responsible for “remitting” on behalf of their employees or paying into the fund on their employees’ behalf. This can be achieved through an additional wage deduction as a part of existing payroll processes. An employer will not be required to pay more than .045% (or half the premium)* into the program from its own business expenses. 

If you have less than 10 employees, you are not required to pay the employer share.

If you have 10 or more employees, you may deduct up to 50% of the .9% premium as a standard payroll deduction. 

Because the rate has already been set, this formula is used to calculate premiums:

  • (annual income X .009) / 2 = employer share
     
  • (annual income x .009) / 2 = employee share

The upper limit of what an employer  may be required to pay for a senior level or executive employee is capped at the same rate their social security withholding is.  The 2020 Colorado Blue Book estimated the 2024 rate to be 160, 000.  

However, as an example, let's use the 2021 Social Security rate of $142,800.  The chart below is a floor to ceiling calculation of what a self employed individual or an employer can expect to pay as a premium. See the table below. 
 

 FAMLI Floor to Ceiling Calculation in 2021 dollars 

Estimates only. Annual cost to employer/employee at 50/50 in red.

Minimum Wage in Colorado= $ 12.32
Federal taxable wage base 
 

Annual minimum wage* = $ 25,625.60
 
2021 rate= $ 142,800

(25,625.60 x .009)=  $230.63 per year/2
 
(142,800 x .009)= 1285.20 per year/2

=115.32/52 weeks = $2.22 per week per employer
 
=642.60/52 weeks = $12.36 per week per employer

$2.22 per week per employee 
 
$12.36 per week per employee


This table shows the current minimum wages as a floor and the current Social Security rate as a ceiling. In short, if FAMLI was in place in 2021, this would be the rate in today’s dollars.

 

Both employers and employees must begin paying into the fund on January 1, 2023 through payroll deductions. Employers need to submit to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment both their share (if required) and their employee's share of the premium through an online system at the end of each quarter. These quarterly filings should be similar to how most companies submit their unemployment insurance today. 

These contributions build the FAMLI fund during 2023. Starting on January 1, 2024 employees may begin to file claims to receive their FAMLI benefits through an online process in development by the Department. 

Responsibilities Under Proposition 118

Employer Type
 

Employer Premium
 

Employee Premium
 

No Premium
 
9 or fewer employees
 


 
 
10 or more employees

 


 
 
Participating Self-Employed  

 
 
Participating Local Government Employee  

 
 
Nonparticipating local government    
Nonparticipating Self-Employed    
Employer with Private Plan    

 

FAMLI leave is different from paid sick days and will require documentation of need in most cases before the benefit is approved by the FAMLI Division. Depending on the reason and need for leave, the benefit leave period may be up to 12 weeks. For people experiencing pregnancy and childbirth complications this may be extended an additional 4 weeks, for a total of 16 weeks. 

The FAMLI benefit can only be taken once a year across a rolling annual calendar year. For example, if an employee takes paternity leave on February 11th, 2024 for the full 12 weeks, they would not be eligible for any other FAMLI leave period covered until February 11th, 2025. 

Most Colorado employees become eligible to take paid leave after they have earned at least $2,500 in wages within the State within the last 4 calendar quarters. 

Self Employed Workers (1099 or Contract Workers) may also be eligible if they have opted into coverage and live and work in Colorado. 

This depends on several factors and will need to be decided on a case by case basis. 

However the Colorado FAMLI leave benefit is never more than 12 weeks, or 16 weeks for complicated births. The Division will issue rules as well as guidance to help you navigate these conversations and determinations prior to January 2024, which is the first month a person may take FAMLI leave. 

No, FAMLI benefits run concurrently with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This means employees will not be covered under either program any longer than the 12 or 16 week time period. For more information about the interplay between federal and state laws and your unique needs as an employer, you may want to consult an attorney specializing in human resources or a benefits leave manager to plan for 2024 and beyond. 

The Division is building a technological solution that will notify an employer when an employee files a claim,  provide information as to an anticipated return to work date based on the nature of the claim, facilitate an appeals process for employers, and provide any other available documentation. The Division is anticipated to launch this online portal ahead of January 1 2024. 

Individuals & Families

Most Colorado employees become eligible to take paid leave after they have earned at least $2,500 in wages within the State, over a period of a year. 

No. FAMLI offers paid job protected leave once an employee has been at their employer for more than 180 days (about six months). The law also offers protection against retaliation. 

Individuals can use FAMLI leave to take time away from work in order to:

  • Care for a new child, including adopted and fostered children
  • Care for themselves, if they have a serious health condition 
  • Care for a family member’s serious health condition
  • Make arrangements for a family member’s military deployment
  • Address the immediate safety needs and impact of domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

Most employees are eligible to receive up to twelve weeks of paid leave. Those who experience pregnancy or childbirth complications may receive an additional four weeks.

By July 1, 2022, and for the duration of the program, the division will coordinate outreach and education for both employees and employers about the program. 

Overall, FAMLI is a shared fee to employers and employees based on .9% of wages. This rate is set through 2025 by Proposition 118, voted in by 57% of Coloradans as the authorizing vote of the people to create the FAMLI enterprise fund. Click here to use our premium calculator to estimate your wage deductions.

Most employees will see a FAMLI wage deduction on their pay stubs. However, some employers may choose to cover their employees’ portion as an added benefit. 

The rate is set at .09% for the first two years of the program. Past 2025 the rate will be set each year by the Division Director and is based on a formula based on the funds balance and usage rates. The amount is statutorily capped at 1.2% of wages. 

Only local government employees and self employed individuals have the option to opt out of the program. The following circumstances may exempt employees from paying the employee-portion of the FAMLI deduction: 

  • Employees of the federal government cannot access the state benefit, and therefore will not see any FAMLI-related wage deductions on their pay stubs.
     
  • If an individual works for an employer who has chosen to cover their employees’ full portion of the contribution as an added work perk, the employee will not see any FAMLI-related wage deductions. 
     
  • Employers may apply to opt out of the program only if they already have a privately funded paid family leave program in place that offers benefits comparable to FAMLI. Employees for those employers also won’t see any FAMLI-related wage deductions, but may see other deductions depending on how the employer funds its private program.

Healthcare Providers

Under the FAMLI definition, a healthcare provider is defined as any person licensed, certified, or registered under Federal or Colorado law to provide medical or emergency services. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Physicians and Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Emergency Room Personnel
  • Midwives

The law defines this as illness, injury, impairment, pregnancy, recovery from childbirth, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential care facility, or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider. 

No, patients do not have to use all their leave at once. For example, someone can take one day off a week for chemotherapy treatment or to care for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. In cases like this, your role is to determine the start and end dates of your patient’s serious health condition.

If your patient’s family member is applying for family leave to care for your patient, you will need to fill out the Certification of Serious Health Condition form  for the family member. Your patient’s family member may  qualify for time off to provide care to your patient based on this information.