As another COVID year comes to a close, there’s confusion among employers who are balancing vaccine requirements with labor shortages and trying to keep up with changes to national, state and local labor laws.
Some government mandates are facing challenges in court, but other COVID-related policies, like paid sick leave, will continue into 2022. Providing 80 hours of COVID sick pay to workers didn’t end when Gov. Jared Polis lifted the public health emergency order in July.
“A lot of people thought that as certain emergency orders end, that ends the 80-hour COVID leave. But what the legislature wrote in the paid sick laws was that if any form of disaster emergency related to COVID continues, the paid leave continues,” said Scott Moss, director of the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics in the state labor department.
Moderna Covid-19 vaccine vials are seen during a vaccination clinic for residents of zip code 80010 and existing refugee patients at Ardas Family Medicine in The Mango House in Aurora, Colorado on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Eli Imadali, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Polis has continued to extend the state’s disaster emergency order. And the existing federal order runs through Jan. 15, unless extended again.
“The 80-hour COVID leave will end only when all disaster emergency orders, state or federal, end — and that hasn’t happened yet,” Moss said.
Some employers said that requiring workers to get vaccinated is challenging when it’s already difficult to hire enough workers