Individuals and Families FAQs


General Program Questions

How do people learn about their benefits and the program?

Every Colorado employer is required to notify their employees of the FAMLI. The required program notice must be posted in a prominent location in the workplace. Individuals and families can also sign up to receive updates directly from the Division. Check out the FAMLI Events calendar on our home page to find out about webinars and Facebook live sessions where you can get all your questions answered.

Will I be penalized or lose my job for taking leave?

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. 

It's important to note that because the FAMLI Act allows local government employers to opt out of the program, employees of these local governments may not have the same job protections under the FAMLI Act. The job of an employee who voluntarily opts-in after their local government opts out would NOT be protected under the FAMLI program. The employee would still be eligible to take FAMLI leave, but their job would not be protected, since the employer has opted out. HOWEVER, the employee’s leave may be protected under FMLA if the employer is already covered by FMLA. If you are an employee of an opted out local government, please connect with your Human Resources department to confirm your employer's leave policies. 


Who is eligible for FAMLI leave?

Most Colorado employees become eligible to take paid leave after they have earned at least $2,500 in wages subject to FAMLI premiums, over a period of about a year. 

What sort of circumstances can I use my paid leave for?

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.
I had a baby in 2023. Will I be eligible for FAMLI in 2024?

Yes. New parents are eligible to take FAMLI leave to bond with a new child anytime within the first 12 months after a birth, adoption or foster care placement. So those parents may have some weeks of eligibility in 2024 (when benefits become available) for a child who arrives in 2023, even if they use some employer-sponsored leave or unpaid FMLA leave in 2023 when the child first arrives.

One important thing to note: Colorado’s FAMLI Act was written to give local government employers the option to completely opt out of the program. If you work for a local government employer who has voted to opt out of FAMLI, you still have the option of voluntarily opting in by committing to pay premiums on 0.45% of your wages for three years. However, while employees of opted out local governments still have access to FAMLI benefit payments, your local government employer is not obligated to abide by the job protection and anti-retaliation provisions of section 509 of the FAMLI Act. So while the FAMLI Act would entitle employees of opted out local governments to take leave in 2024 regardless of what leave they might have used in 2023, the law won't protect those employees from termination or other discipline from the opted out local government employer. If you work for an opted out local government employer, please connect with your human resources department to confirm what their particular leave policies are. 

Read more on this topic in this blog post: Welcoming a new child in 2023? You can take paid bonding leave in 2024!

Self-Employed Worker

What if I am self-employed and do freelance or gig work?

Participation for self-employed workers is optional. If you do decide to opt into FAMLI as a self-employed worker, you must agree to participate by paying premiums and reporting your income for a minimum of three years in order to avoid only opting in only when the need for leave is foreseeable. This must be completed in My FAMLI+ Employer before you apply for benefits in My FAMLI+.

While there is no open enrollment period, you will need one quarter of coverage before you can collect FAMLI benefit payments. When registering in My FAMLI+ Employer, you may elect a retroactive coverage period, so you can apply for FAMLI leave that will become available as early as January 2024. If you elect a retroactive coverage period, your first premium payment will be due on the next quarterly reporting deadline for employers (the last day of the month following the end of quarter: January 31, April 30, July 31, October 31). 

What qualifies as a self-employed individual?

“Self-employed individual” as used in the FAMLI Act and its implementing regulations includes individuals who meet the FAMLI Act’s two-prong exception to the definition of “employee” at  C.R.S. 8-13.3-503(7) which states " (7) “Employee” means any individual, including a migratory laborer, performing labor or services for the benefit of another, irrespective of whether the common-law relationship of master and servant exists. For the purposes of this part 5, an individual primarily free from control and direction in the performance of the labor or services, both under the individual’s contract for the performance of the labor or services and in fact, and who is customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession, or business related to the labor or services performed is not an “employee.” 

FAMLI Premiums Deduction

Are military spouses exempt from paying FAMLI premiums under the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act?

Military spouses are not exempt from contributing to FAMLI because FAMLI premiums are considered a fee and not a tax. Thus the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act doesn’t grant an exemption.

How much will employees be required to pay?

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. Use our premium calculator to estimate your wage deductions.

How do employees pay their portion of the benefit?

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. 

Will the rate change and when?

The rate is set at 0.9% 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. 

Can I opt out of the program?

No. The FAMLI Act does not allow employees to opt out of the program. Only local government employers have the ability to vote to opt out of the program. Employees of those opted out local governments have the option to voluntarily opt in. Self employed individuals have the option to voluntarily opt into the program, but don't need to take any action to opt out. 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. 
  • If an individual works for a local government employer who has voted to opt out of the FAMLI program, the employee will not see any FAMLI-related wage deductions. 
  • Employers may apply to fulfill their FAMLI obligations by using a private plan that provides equal or great benefits as the FAMLI plan. Employers will be required to pay their FAMLI premiums until they receive approval from the Division to use their private plan.  Employees of those employers may not see any FAMLI-related wage deductions, but may see other deductions depending on how the employer funds its private program.

Filing a Claim

Can I file a claim on behalf of someone else as a Designated Representative?

Yes, you can file on behalf of a family member if they're medically incapacitated, and/or you can file as a Designated Representative if you can prove with documentation that you are in fact a Designated Representative for the individual. Learn more about filing as a Designated Representative before creating a My FAMLI+ account.

When can I file a claim for FAMLI Benefits?

Eligible individuals can start receiving benefits beginning in 2024, and will use My FAMLI+ to submit their applications. A claimant can open a planned FAMLI Leave of any kind 30 days prior to the first date of the absence and up to 30 days after an absence. FAMLI benefits will never be issued before the first date of absence and will often be issued in arrears, going back to the first date of absence. 

If you have a planned absence due to a scheduled surgery or the birth of a child, you can file your claim in advance. 

I am having surgery in January 2024, when can I file my claim?

You can submit your application using My FAMLI+ in December 2023 up to 30 days in advance of your first day away from work. You’ll need to notify the FAMLI Division that your leave has officially begun on your first day away from work using My FAMLI+. 

Can I backdate my FAMLI Claim?

A FAMLI leave claim needs to be opened within 30 days after the first date of absence in order to be considered for FAMLI benefits. Any FAMLI claim filed between 31-90 days after the first date of absence will be considered if the Claimant also establishes good cause for the delay. (7 CCR 1107-3.6.4)

How often can I apply for FAMLI benefits? When does my “Application Year” or “Benefit Year” start?

Your “Application Year” is twelve months, measured forward from your first day away from work. For example, if you take two weeks of FAMLI leave starting on February 3, 2024, your application year will run from February 3, 2024 through February 2, 2025.  During that time, you are limited to using 12 weeks of leave (or 16 weeks if you qualify for the extra 4 weeks for a pregnancy or childbirth complication).  

Your next application year will start on February 3, 2025 or the next date you take FAMLI leave, whichever is later. For example, your first application year ends on February 2, 2025, and if you don’t take leave again until needing to bond with a new baby on September 1, 2025, then your new benefit year will run from September 1, 2025 through August 31, 2026.

While I am On Leave

Will I still have healthcare coverage through my employer while out on FAMLI leave?

While you are on leave, you are entitled to the same healthcare benefits. You are still responsible for paying your portion for the benefits that you would pay while you were working.

Is my job protected while I am on leave?

Approved FAMLI leave offers job protection once an employee has been at that particular employer for more than 180 days (about six months).  

Local Government Employee

How do I opt in to FAMLI if my employer has opted out?

If your employer is based in Colorado or has employees in Colorado, they can not opt out of FAMLI except if they are a local government employer. Participation for employees of opted out local governments is entirely optional. If you work for a local government employer who has opted out, and you as an individual would like to voluntarily opt in, you will need to create an account in My FAMLI+ Employer as an employee of an opted out local government.  

In My FAMLI+ Employer, you must agree to participate for a minimum of three years by paying premiums and reporting your wages in order to avoid only opting in only when the need for leave is foreseeable. 


How much will my benefits be?

FAMLI wage replacement benefits will be paid at a rate of 90% of the employee’s average weekly wage with lower wage earners receiving a higher percentage. Benefits are calculated on a sliding scale using the individual’s average weekly wage for the state of Colorado. This may increase over time. Benefits are capped at $1,100 per week. You can estimate your potential benefits by using the calculator. 

How much paid time off does FAMLI provide?

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.

How long do I have to work for my employer to qualify for FAMLI Benefits?

Claimants do not need to have a minimum number of days working for an employer to be eligible to receive benefits. The division will look back at the previous 5 quarters' wages to determine their benefit eligibility. They must have earned at least $2500 during that time.

When will I get my first payment?

Once your claim has been fully submitted with all the required paperwork, the FAMLI Division has two weeks to get a decision back to you stating that the claim has or has not been approved. Approved FAMLI benefit payments will be issued weekly. There is no waiting period before FAMLI leave is effective. The first benefit payments will become available in January 2024.

Can I receive my benefit payments on a prepaid debit card? 

Yes. If you choose to receive payments on a prepaid debit card once benefit payments become available in 2024, you will receive a U.S. Bank ReliaCard®. Please review the ReliaCard Pre-Acquisition Disclosures which contain information about potential fees before choosing this option. Fees are located on the Fee Schedule sent to you with your card. Once you have received and activated your card, you can view the Fee Schedule online by logging into your account at the USBank ReliaCard website. If you have questions about the ReliaCard option, please see the FAQ page of the ReliaCard website

Are FAMLI benefit payments subject to state and federal income tax?

FAMLI benefits are not subject to state income tax. Current IRS guidance suggests that state programs like FAMLI are taxed similar to unemployment compensation, which is subject to federal income tax.

FAMLI will report to the IRS the amount of FAMLI benefits paid to each claimant during the year. We will issue IRS form 1099-G to claimants who received FAMLI benefit payments. The benefits paid will be reported in Box 1, which is labeled “unemployment compensation.” Per IRS instructions, this box is also used for governmental paid family leave programs.