COVID-19 Personnel and Procurement Information

These Frequently Asked Questions have been developed to help address the impact COVID-19 may have on the State's workforce and operations. They are designed to help leadership, management, Human Resources Directors, Procurement Directors, Department Controllers, and all state employees (both classified and non-classified) navigate topics related to human resources, including staffing, leave, benefits, and workers' compensation and procurement, including purchasing, contracting, and contract management.

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Please regularly visit the CDPHE and CDC websites for the latest on what you can do to ensure you, your teammates, and your family remain safe.

If you have questions regarding these FAQs, please direct them to dpa_comments@state.co.us.

Last Updated: 10/21/2021

Vaccination Policy for State Employees

Governor Polis announced on July 30, 2021 that, starting September 20, 2021, the State will require all state employees within the Governor’s purview to report their COVID vaccination status and provide a copy of their vaccine record or card or submit to twice-weekly serial testing. Following this announcement, the State Personnel Director adopted the COVID-19 Vaccination and Serial Testing Requirements Universal Policy

The following Frequently Asked Questions aim to answer common questions about the vaccine requirement, but questions will arise that are not on the list. It will be regularly updated.

Q: Does the Governor or the State Personnel Director have the legal authority to require COVID-19 vaccinations and testing?

A: Yes, an employer has the legal authority to require testing and vaccination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laws do not prevent employers from inquiring about an employee's vaccination status or requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19, although religious and medical exemptions and reasonable accommodation requests shall be addressed as required by law.

Q: Is it a HIPAA violation to require someone to be vaccinated, or to disclose their vaccine status?

A: It is not a HIPAA violation. It is within an employer’s right to require a vaccination or ask whether or not an employee has received a vaccine as a matter of workplace safety. Furthermore, the ADA permits employers to ask for an employee’s reasoning if the employee refuses to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine, assuming that an unvaccinated employee would pose a threat to the health and safety of others. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services: “In general, the HIPAA Rules do not apply to employers or employment records. HIPAA only applies to HIPAA covered entities – health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses – and, to some extent, to their business associates. If an employer asks an employee to provide proof that they have been vaccinated, that is not a HIPAA violation, and employees may decide whether to provide that information to their employer.” However, an employer can issue corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination if an employee does not comply with the employer’s mandated vaccination or attestation policy and refuses to be vaccinated, absent an exemption or reasonable accommodation, or disclose their vaccination status whether vaccinated or not.

Q: Which state employees are affected by these new requirements?

A: All state employees in the executive branch under the Governor’s purview are covered under this policy. This includes classified and non-classified, permanent and state temporary employees, contractors, vendors, and volunteers at state locations. Institutions of higher education employees and those reporting to elected officials other than the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are excluded from these requirements. Agencies charged with providing services for vulnerable or at-risk populations, in-person programs, and public health laboratories may have additional and more stringent policies in place, including requiring vaccination against COVID-19. 

Q: Do contractors, consultants, volunteers, and others reporting to work at a state facility need to adhere to the requirements? 

A: Public Health Order 20-38 implements vaccination requirements for all State Contractors and State Contractor Workers who physically enter a State Facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 further in Colorado. All State Contractors and State Contractor Workers, including individuals who have been infected with and recovered from COVID-19, shall have received their first dose in a two dose COVID-19 series no later than September 30, 2021, and be Fully Vaccinated by October 31, 2021. For more information on contractor requirements, visit the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for State Contractors FAQ page.  

Q: If a state employee works remotely, do they have to attest to their vaccination status? Does the COVID-19 Vaccination & Serial Testing Universal Policy apply to fully remote workers or those with a hybrid work arrangement?  

A: Yes, all employees, including those who have a fully remote or hybrid work arrangement must comply with all of the requirements of the COVID-19 Vaccination & Serial Testing Universal Policy. 

Q: How long should agencies plan to implement the vaccination and testing mandates?

A: Decisions will continue to be based on public health recommendations as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. The health and safety of State of Colorado employees, their families, and the communities we serve remains our highest priority. The State anticipates these requirements will be in place until there is no longer a risk. 

Q: How do the mandates affect new hires to the State of Colorado?

A: New hires after September 20, 2021 will be required to comply with vaccine status attestation and provide a copy of their vaccine card, or submit to serial twice-a-week testing. Agencies charged with custodial care of vulnerable populations may have additional policies in place. We will add this requirement to all new job postings as a condition of employment. 

Q: Do agencies need to include information about the mandates in job postings, position descriptions, etc.? Is this a condition of employment?

A: Yes. Agency HR offices will be provided with recommended language to use for these purposes. This requirement applies to all new job postings effective September 20, 2021 as a condition of employment. 

Q: Will there be exemptions from testing requirements?

A: Anyone who is not vaccinated will be required to submit to serial testing. Religious and medical reasonable accommodation requests will be addressed through the department’s interactive process.

Q: Do people who have had COVID-19 need to be vaccinated?

A: Even people who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to get vaccinated, especially as the extra-contagious delta variant surges. If you had COVID-19, the CDC says you may wait a few months after your infection before getting the vaccine. It is unlikely that you will get COVID-19 again during this time. However, you may choose to get the vaccine earlier than that as long as you have recovered from your infection.
 
If you received a COVID-19-specific antibody treatment (e.g. monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma) while you were sick with COVID-19, you should wait at least ninety days after receiving the antibody treatment before getting the vaccine. 
 
Generally, anyone that is not fully vaccinated will be required to submit to twice-weekly serial testing. Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will not be required to submit to serial testing for 90-days following the positive test result.
 
Employees who must adhere to mandatory vaccination requirements. An employee who has had a prior COVID-19 infection is required to be fully vaccinated. The CDC recommends that vaccination of people with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should be delayed until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and has satisfied the criteria to discontinue isolation.

Q: How will employee confidentiality be maintained?

A: All vaccination status information and testing data will be under HR control. Only information on who needs to be tested will be provided to supervisors. 

Q: Will an employee who resigns due to the vaccination and testing requirements be eligible for unemployment?

A: Generally speaking, UI benefits are meant for Coloradans who lose work through no fault of their own. If the employee was fired or quit for not following a company policy, the UI Division will look at the circumstances around each individual scenario, including but not limited to: the nature of the work being performed, the reason for the requirement, and the reason for the refusal. If being vaccinated against COVID-19 is pertinent for the performance of the job, this will be considered in determining UI benefit eligibility.  

Q: What is COWINS position on the new requirements for state employees?

A: Please contact COWINS at 719-545-0677 or via email at info@cowins.org

Q: Where can state employees find the documents to request medical or religious exemption?

A: The medical and religious exemption forms are provided below. Employees should contact their agency human resource representative with questions regarding the use of these forms.

Q: Can employees who are fully vaccinated participate in twice weekly serial testing?

A: Yes, however they will need to pay for the test.

Q: What happens if a state employee has an adverse reaction to the vaccine?

A: Employees have up to 80 hours (prorated for part-time scheduled work hours) of Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) that they may use in this case and during the entirety of a public health emergency even if such public health emergency is amended, extended, restated, or prolonged. If an employee has exhausted their allotted PHEL they will be granted 8 hours of administrative leave and then may use any accrued sick leave. 

Q: What happens if a state employee gets a positive test result? 

A: Consistent with existing policy, any state employee who contracts COVID-19 will be required to use PHEL for any time off or quarantine period, unless they have exhausted their 80 hour allotment (prorated for part-time scheduled work hours) during the entirety of a public health emergency even if such public health emergency is amended, extended, restated, or prolonged. Employees will be required to use sick leave for any time off or quarantine period if they are not able to work remotely. Employees can return to work in the office after following the isolation protocol. For more information on isolation protocol go to covid19.colorado.gov/how-to-isolate.  

Q: What if a state employee is exposed to COVID-19 at work? 

A: Employees exposed to the virus while at work will be required to test and will be placed on administrative leave during the testing period only. They will not be eligible for administrative leave, unless they provide evidence of vaccination, or affirmation from a doctor that they have a medical condition preventing vaccination, or other allowable exemption. After the testing period, for isolation, the employee may use up to 80 hours of PHEL if available, and then sick leave.

Q: How can state employees report their vaccine status to their HR department?

A: At most agencies, the State will use the Risk Management system Origami to collect vaccine status attestation. Employees have been provided instructions on how to enter their status and provide verification information directly to Origami. Reports will be provided to agency HR departments. If your agency has already been collecting vaccination status (e.g., DOC) you will not be asked to report it twice. 

Q: Who at the State has access to information in the Origami system?

A: This program is owned and managed by the State Office of Risk Management and access is limited to that staff and a small number of agency HR teams.

Q: Who at the State has access to employee testing information?

A: Agency HR teams have access to the Qualtrics data.

Q: What steps are being taken for information security?

A: Both vendor contracts (Origami and Qualtrics) meet all required safety and security requirements for technology related contracts.

Q: Does the Department of Public Health & Environment or the Governor’s Office have access to this data? 

A: no.

Q: What type of tests are accepted by the State?

A:  Additional details about the method, location, and results of testing are available at the State’s COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting & Employee Testing page. Both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and saliva tests are acceptable. Testing began September 20.

At-home testing is not accepted for state employees who are required to test twice-weekly, with few exceptions. State employees should work with their HR office and follow the ADA process if an accommodation is needed. Please note: The Rapid at-home Testing Program announced by CDPHE on September 28, 2021 does not qualify as approved testing for state employees. This program cannot be used for Colorado state employee testing requirements without a special accommodation. If you are a state employee looking for more information on testing, please contact your human resource representative or find an approved site at the State’s COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting & Employee Testing page. 

Q: Will state employees be paid for the time for testing and travel to and from the testing location?

A: Travel to and from the testing location, including completing the test results is considered paid work time for non-exempt employees. Testing should not take more than 4 hours per week and must be coordinated and scheduled with supervisors. 

Q: Employees are reporting that they are being asked to pay for their COVID test. Are there some sites that charge a fee?

A: No community COVID testing site charges a fee for testing. Free sites can be found at covid19.colorado.gov/testing. If an employee reports that they are being asked to pay, verify through the exact address that the employee is contacting a free community testing site. There are sometimes providers near, or even within, the same facility as community testing sites that do charge a fee.

Q: Will full-time employees who are on vacation be required to test twice a week and need to submit test results while on vacation?

A: For full week absences, employees are not required to test during that week and will resume their normal testing schedule as required when they return to work. 

Testing requirements for partial week absences for full-time employees depend on the amount of time missed as follows: 

  • Time off greater than twenty hours: Employees absent for more than twenty hours in a week will be required to test once during that week. 
  • Time off less than twenty hours: Employees absent less than twenty hours in a week will be required to test twice during that week.   

If the time off does not coincide with the normal testing schedule for employees, an adjustment to that schedule should be made. Please see examples below:  

  • An employee scheduled to test Monday and Thursday who is absent on Monday, should shift their testing schedule and test on Tuesday and Friday.   
  • An employee scheduled to test Tuesday and Friday who is absent Tuesday through Friday, should test on Monday.  

Employees who, based on time off, will reduce their testing to once in a single week are required to pre-arrange the new testing date with their supervisor in advance.  

Q: What are the testing requirements for paid holidays?  For example, if someone selected a Monday/Thursday testing schedule and Monday is a state holiday, would we require them to alter their test schedule and test on a day other than Monday? 

A: This response is applicable to the agencies that are using the Qualtrics system for serial testing. For the holiday (Monday) the employees should still get an email reminder on Monday, but would not go in for testing until Tuesday (first working day) and continue on their normal testing cycle of Thursday. The Monday test will be open for three days to allow for results to be recorded. If the agency so chooses they can switch all the Monday/Thursday test schedules in Origami to Tuesday/Friday for that week and then the following week switch them back to Monday/Thursday.

Q: Will employees be reimbursed for mileage in order to submit for testing?

A: Travel to and from the testing location will be reimbursed, pursuant to the Flexible Work Arrangements Fiscal Policy issued September 14, 2021 as follows:

  1. Agencies shall reimburse employees in a remote workplace for mileage to and from the testing site and the remote workplace
  2. Agencies shall not reimburse employees in hybrid workplace for mileage if the testing site is less than an employee’s normal commute. If the mileage is greater than the employee’s normal commute, agencies shall reimburse an employee in a hybrid workplace to the extent that the number of miles between an employee’s remote workplace to a testing site exceeds the employee’s normal commuting miles from the employee’s workplace to the state workplace.
  3. Agencies shall not reimburse employees in a state workplace for mileage if the testing site is within 15 miles of the state workplace. If mileage is greater than 15 miles, then agencies shall reimburse an employee in a state workplace for total miles traveled to and from the testing site and the state workplace. Most employees will be within 15 miles of a test site.
  4. An agency may reimburse employees for transportation expenses to and from the testing site and the remote workplace if the employee does not have a vehicle or if an alternative method of transportation is the most economical.

Q: Do part-time employees need to test twice a week?

A: Employees who work up to 20 hours per week will require 1 serial test, more than 20 hours per week will require 2 serial tests. 

Q: Will employees who are out of work on protected medical leave (e.g. FMLA, STD, or ADA accommodation) have to test twice weekly? 

A: No. Prior to returning to work, they will be required to attest to full vaccination status or be tested. 

Q: Will employees who are on vacation be required to test twice a week and need to submit test results while on vacation?

A: No. Prior to returning to work, they will be required to attest to full vaccination status and provide a copy of their vaccination card, or be tested and continue with twice-weekly testing as required.

 

Q: What happens if a state employee is not vaccinated, does not provide a copy of their vaccination card, and refuses to submit twice-weekly testing?

A: An employee subject to this policy who is not fully vaccinated, has not provided a copy of their vaccination card and refuses to twice-weekly testing may be subject to corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination unless they are eligible for a medical or religious exemption.

Q: What happens if a state employee who is subject to an agency mandatory vaccine policy refuses to get vaccinated?

A: An employee subject to an agency mandatory vaccine policy who refuses to get vaccinated and is not eligible for a medical or religious exemption, will be subject to corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Q: What happens if an employee refuses to disclose their vaccination status?

A: An employee subject to this policy must disclose their vaccination status regardless of vaccination status and keep their department updated of any changes. If the employee  refuses to disclose their vaccination status, they must submit to twice-weekly testing and will be subject to corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination. If their agency adopts a more restrictive policy mandating vaccines, and they are not eligible for a medical or religious exemption, they will be subject to corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Q: If an employee refuses to test and is not vaccinated, what is considered a reasonable disciplinary or corrective action?

A: An employee subject to the mandate who refuses to test and is not eligible for a medical or religious exemption will be subject to corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

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Personnel Questions

Q: Where can we find the latest updates on COVID-19 in general?

A: Please visit the State of Colorado's COVID-19 website or the Center for Disease Control website for general updates on the virus. This is where the most recent and accurate information on the virus can be found.

Q: What is the guidance around informing state employees, building residents, meeting participants, or the public if there has been a positive case in the workplace?

A: First and foremost, as with any medical condition, confidentiality around an employee's health should be maintained to comply with federal regulations (FMLA, ADA, HIPAA). You may not disclose the identity of the infected employee. You may, however, provide general information (e.g. affected building, floor, or dates of exposure) that an employee has been infected to allow employees to monitor themselves for signs of symptoms. Employees should then be informed of any mitigating strategies that will be employed to ensure the safety of the work area, as well as modifications to their schedule or workplace. You should also immediately inform your executive leadership, who will take the lead in both discussions with CDPHE and also communicate about any closures.

Q:  What are the requirements for paying exempt (salary) employees if they are unable to complete a full day or week of work?

A: The exempt employee must receive a full day's pay for the partial day worked if they are ready, willing, able, and engaged to work. Should the employee need to take time off for personal reasons, leave is used for the hours not worked.

Q. What are the requirements for paying non-exempt (hourly) employees if they are unable to complete a full day of work?

A: Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked. There is no requirement to pay non-exempt employees for hours not worked. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, non-exempt employees who are ready, willing, able and engaged to work, will be placed on paid administrative leave when state facilities are closed and/or because they do not have the ability to work from home. Should the employee need to take time off for personal reasons, leave is used for the hours not worked.

Q: What plans does the State have to ensure that all State buildings are being cleaned well enough to prevent the virus from spreading?

A: DPA is working with custodial crews for capitol complex facilities to ensure they are following CDC and CDPHE guidelines in cleaning offices and following up-to-date best practices. Crews will continue to wipe down flat surfaces with necessary cleansers. They will not wipe down your computer or move documents or items in your office to clean under them. Agencies outside of capitol complex are working with their leasing partners to ensure prevention in their locations.

Q: Are we implementing the temporary suspension of payments on federal student loan garnishment?

A: At this time, federal student loan garnishments are not suspended under the CARES Act. Changes to garnishments cannot be made without direct orders to do so from the receiver.

Q: What are Exposure Notifications?

A: CO Exposure Notifications is a free and voluntary cell phone service developed in partnership with Google and Apple that can notify users of possible exposure to COVID-19. By opting in, your Android or iPhone device will share anonymous tokens with other CO Exposure Notifications users using your phone's Bluetooth. If another user you've been near tests positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period, the service will notify you. If you test positive, you can easily and anonymously notify others to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Tokens contain no personal information or location data and everything is completely anonymous.

Knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested, and reduce the risk to your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and community.

  • Android users can download CO Exposure Notifications on the Google Play store

  • iPhone users can enable CO Exposure Notifications in their phone settings by finding Settings > Exposure Notifications > United States > Colorado.

Additional Notification Information and FAQs

Q: What responsibilities do employers have as it relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act?

A: The ADA and Rehabilitation Act rules continue to apply, but they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19.

Q: How much information may I request from an employee who calls in sick, in order to protect the rest of its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: During a pandemic, ADA-covered employers may ask such employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus. For COVID-19, these include symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. Employers may ask an employee's plans to be tested and/or the results of their test. Employers must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.

Q: How should employees who need to get tested proceed?

A: For the most current information on testing, including locations, employees can visit the CDPHE testing website and find CDPHE’s community testing sites here. Community testing sites are an easy option for anyone who needs tested, including state employees. 

Based on the Governor’s announcement, additional details about the method, location, and results of testing are forthcoming. Testing will begin September 20.

Q: What should leadership consider when determining to close a facility due to a positive COVID-19 test of someone who was in a facility?

A: CDPHE recommends closing off the area(s) used by the infected person. If possible, wait 24 hours before thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched spaces and follow additional cleaning and disinfecting instructions.

CDPHE recommends that if two or more employee cases are confirmed within 14 days, the workplace/facility should temporarily close, and the outbreak should be reported immediately to the local public health agency. For additional workplace outbreak guidance, click here.

Q:  What if there are multiple confirmed or presumed positive COVID-19 cases in a facility?

A: Please see CDHPE's Workplace Outbreak Guidance regarding preventing, reporting, and mitigating outbreaks. With any single case, the work area should be cleaned thoroughly (refer to above regarding closures). Close contacts (e.g., coworkers who were in close contact with a sick individual) should be identified and quarantined. 

If there are two cases in 14 days, the agency should notify their local public health agency and/or CDPHE and file an outbreak reporting form. Closure of the facility may be recommended, for varying lengths of time. This depends on factors such as how many employees are ill or exposed, the ability of the facility to clean the affected area sufficiently with or without closing, other workplace infection prevention policies that are in place, and the type of work performed in the facility. The local public health agency and/or CDPHE will help make this determination.  

Q: What interventions should an agency consider to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

A: To ensure continuity of operations, consider the following:

  • Allow employees work from home if possible. 
  • Request employees to change shifts to cover employee's assigned shift. 
  • Request or mandate employees to work extra shifts. 
  • Reassign employees in higher staffed locations to locations in need of additional staffing.
  • Consider reaching out to employees who have left state service to consider reinstatement. 
  • Allow use of overtime (consider cash compensation in lieu of comp time). 
  • Consult with human resources on options related to incentive pay (i.e., bonuses, discretional pay differentials, etc.).
  • Provide cross-training of employees to cover other positions as appropriate.
  • Utilize temporary employees.
  • If an employee has symptoms, they should be sent home as soon as possible. Do not wait for a positive test.

Q: How can we distinguish between a "suspected but unconfirmed" case of COVID-19 and a typical illness?

A: Not everyone will need to be tested for COVID-19. Per CDPHE guidance, self-isolation should be used when an individual: (a) has a positive COVID-19 test; or (b) has symptoms of COIVD-19 (coughing, shortness of breath and/or fever); or (c) are getting ill and think they might have COIVD-19. Symptoms, especially early on, may be mild and feel like a common cold. Early symptoms could include a combination of cough, body aches, fatigue, and chest tightness. Some people may not develop fever or fever may not appear until several days into the illness.

The EEOC has confirmed that you can inquire into an employee's symptoms, even if such questions are disability-related, as you would be considered to have a "reasonable belief based on objective evidence that the severe form of pandemic influenza poses a direct threat." Inquiries into an employee's symptoms should attempt to distinguish the symptoms of COVID-19 from the common cold and the seasonal flu. This should include inquiries into whether an employee is experiencing:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. Visit the CDC website for more information on symptoms and testing. 

It is important to remember that you must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.

Q: What is "surveillance testing" some state agencies are required to implement?

A: Surveillance testing is the use of rapid turn-around testing of residents and staff in all Colorado licensed or certified skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, assisted living residences, and group homes. These facilities are required to implement the restrictions and requirements for the implementation of COVID-19 ongoing surveillance testing of outbreak testing when needed of patients and staff and the allowance of visitors to these facilities. 

Facilities must comply with the current version of Public Health Order 20-20 pertaining to facility testing and visitation, along with the Guidance for Indoor Visitation in Residential Care Facilities and should continue to apply CDC guidance for infection prevention in residential care settings as required.

Q: As we anticipate an increase in medical visits, what is being done to increase telehealth and nurse advice line options for state employees? Are Kaiser Permanente and Cigna increasing staff or access in these areas?

A: Please see Cigna's COVID-19 Resource Page
 

Visit their website for additional information where you can find information about how Kaiser Permanente is responding to COVID-19.

Q: Who will pay for COVID-19 tests for people covered by the state benefit plans?

Kaiser and Cigna will cover the costs for COVID-19 tests, which must be ordered by a doctor. This means testing will be given without deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance requirements.

Additionally, Cigna will cover antibody/serology testing, for symptomatic individuals 21 years old or younger to aid in the diagnosis of suspected multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children [MIS-C], with no cost share to the member.

Q: If an employee needs to change their address or take other actions in the Employee Self Service (ESS), but are working remotely with no VPN access, what can be done?

A: Agencies have individuals who have the ability to make updates in the Colorado Personnel Payroll System (CPPS) that flow directly into ESS. Employees should contact their HR department if changes are needed.

Q: Due to school and daycare closures, what options are available to employees who are now unable to utilize all the funds set aside in their dependent care flexible spending accounts?

A: For FY2021-22, changes to the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) without a Qualifying Life Event (QLE), are no longer allowed. DCFSA changes once again require QLE documentation. However, based upon the extended grace period due to COVID-19, any unused FY2020-21 balance remaining on 6/30/2021 may be used for services through 6/30/2022.

Q: If dependent care facilities have been ordered closed by the State and no documentation has been provided by the daycare facility on the closure, what options do employees have for providing documentation to reduce dependent care flexible spending accounts?

A: For FY2021-22, changes to the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) without a Qualifying Life Event (QLE), are no longer allowed. DCFSA changes once again require QLE documentation.

Q: If a planned non-essential surgery or procedure is canceled due to COVID-19, what options are available to employees who are now unable to utilize all the funds set aside in their health Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?

A: Employees were previously allowed a carryover of $500 in unused contributions remaining at the end of the plan year. The IRS recently increased that amount. Beginning with FY2021-22 into FY2022-23, employees are permitted a carryover of $550. The State is unable to allow a carryover larger than the IRS limit.

Q: Can employees travel for work out-of-state?

A: Executive Directors may approve department out-of-state travel for their agency employees and must consider applicable federal, state, and local restrictions.

Q: Can employees travel for work in-state?

A: In-state travel is permitted only when necessary. Work with your supervisor regarding necessary travel. All agencies and institutions of higher education outside the Governor's purview are encouraged to adopt a similar policy. If you work for one of these agencies or institutions, please consult your leadership regarding this question.

Q: Are there special efforts taken with motor pool cars?

A: Yes. Prior to returning a motor pool car to the downtown State Motor Pool (1525 Sherman), all cars should be taken to WaterWorks Carwash, located at 276 Broadway in Denver for a "State Vehicle Cleaning Service" which will clean the exterior and interior high touch points throughout the vehicle. Water Works will invoice the State for the service. Motor pools located outside the Denver-metro area should have similar local protocols in place. Employees should be cognizant of washing or sanitizing their hands prior to getting back into a vehicle that has just been cleaned by a carwash. Check with your motor pool manager for established local procedures​.

Q: Can agencies require employees to report if they have traveled to areas where there is widespread community transmission?

A: Yes, however, consult the CDC travel website to determine the level of risk the employee may pose to the workplace based on the travel location. Based on the level of risk, CDPHE may advise employees to stay home from work for up to 14 days. If it is possible for the employee to work from home, then consider using this option to protect the health of other employees.

Q: Can agencies prevent employees from returning to work if they have traveled to areas where there is widespread community transmission?

A: If the employee is symptomatic, the employee should be placed on EPSL or, if that is exhausted, administrative leave until a COVID-19 diagnosis. If a diagnosis is confirmed, the employee should continue on EPSL or, if that is exhausted, paid administrative leave until they are no longer symptomatic as provided in the CDC Discontinuation of Home Isolation guidelines. If a diagnosis is not confirmed, the employee should be placed on sick leave until they are no longer symptomatic as provided in these guidelines. Our advice is to begin documentation for the Family Medical Leave process once the employee is ill in case complications arise. See FAQ specific to FMLA paperwork for more detailed guidance.

If the employee is not actively symptomatic, use the CDC risk assessment website and  any relevant travel warnings from CDPHE to evaluate the level of risk. If the risk is  high, consider if the employee is able to work from home. If so, the employee should  work from home for the virus's incubation period, which is generally 14 days. If working from home is not possible based on the nature of the employee's work, the appointing authority may grant paid administrative leave to cover the period of isolation or arrange to minimize contact with coworkers at the work site.

Q: How should agencies address personal travel or requests for annual leave for vacations (pre-approved or otherwise) with employees?

A: Appointing Authorities continue to have the ability to cancel any pre-approved or future requests for annual leave due to staffing shortages and/or business necessity. Keep in mind any cancelled leave is at risk of forfeiture if it is not taken by the end of the fiscal year. Should the employee not have a reasonable opportunity to use annual leave due to business necessity and it results in forfeiture, the forfeited hours must be paid out to the employee before the end of the fiscal year pursuant to rule 5-4.

If an employee plans on traveling out-of-state and has been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, they should avoid traveling. Should an employee travel to a location within the state identified as an area of community spread by CDPHE, they must self-report this to their supervisor before returning to the workplace.

Q: If an employee on annual leave knowingly travels to areas with community spread, do they get two weeks of paid administrative leave upon their return?

A: Executive Leadership should remind agency employees that as public servants, they are expected now, more than ever, to support the health and well-being of their communities by adhering to CDPHE's guidance and distancing themselves from areas experiencing community spread. Additionally, their services will be crucial in the upcoming weeks, and putting themselves at risk by traveling to these areas also puts the agency's mission and continuity of operations at risk.

Employees should disclose when they have traveled to a high-risk or high-occurrence area. These employees should work from home if able for a minimum of 72 hours or per CDPHE's guidance before returning to onsite work if asymptomatic. If unable to work from home, these employees should minimize contact with coworkers for a minimum of 72 hours or follow CDPHE's guidance for isolation of asymptomatic employees. In compliance with CDC Guidance, Essential Employees may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community. Employees would not be given two weeks of paid administrative leave upon their return.

Q: Are agencies able to purchase travel insurance for cancelations due to COVID-19?

A: The State Controller approved a waiver of Fiscal Rule 5-1 and related policy so that agencies may purchase cancel-for-any-reason travel insurance. This waiver will remain in place until there is no longer a threat to public health due to COVID-19. The State Travel Management Services Price Agreements do not include trip cancellation coverage in their contracted rates. State-issued Commercial Cards do not offer cancel-for-any-reason travel insurance. This type of insurance needs to be purchased separately, and may be charged to your State Commercial Card. However, travel insurance may be costly and the value of such insurance should be considered carefully prior to purchase.

Q: What should employees consider for personal travel during the holidays?

A: To help mitigate the virus spread and not overwhelm hospitals, CDPHE is advising Coloradans to get a flu shot and not to do any unnecessary traveling during the holiday season. Travel can increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. For more information, visit the CDPHE travel website. With more counties moving to safer-at-home levels, CDPHE offers the following advice to keep areas from having to resort to stay-at-home orders:

  • Avoid in-person gatherings
  • Stay home when sick
  • Physical distance
  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Sign up for Exposure Notifications
  • Anyone who may have been exposed to the virus but do not have symptoms should get tested. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, wait about seven days after the date you think you were exposed before getting tested, unless you develop symptoms. 
  • If you are exposed, quarantine for 14 days, regardless of the test results
  • People who have symptoms should get tested right away

Q: Will DPA provide a blanket waiver for personal services agreements for urgent needs in response to COVID-19 operations for every department in the Executive Branch? 

A: No. Personal services agreements require a personal service waiver to be in place to ensure that the State isn't using a contractor in lieu of a state employee. Because personal services agreements cannot directly or indirectly impact the personnel system (e.g. employment or financial), DPA is unable to provide a blanket waiver specific to urgent needs in response to COVID-19. A personal services agreement is any kind of contract with an independent contractor who receives a 1099 or a leased worker from a temporary agency that is outside of normal W-2 employment. It does not include directly hiring temporary employees into Temporary Aide positions which can be utilized without a waiver.

Q: I have immediate resource needs for classified positions and don't have time for the hiring process, what can I do?

A: You can consider using a provisional appointment, in which you temporarily appoint a qualified individual from outside the state system into a classified position. An eligible list is not necessary for provisional appointments, and they do not need to be posted. Appointees cannot retain the position as provisional for longer than nine months from the date of entrance of duty or one month after the establishment of a referral list intended to permanently fill the position, whichever date is later. At the end of this time frame, the provisional employee must be separated. In order to move into this role permanently, an open-competitive process would have to occur within the established nine months.

Q: I have temporary employees approaching the nine-month limit for temporary employees. Can I extend them?

A: The nine month limit for temporary employees is in the Colorado Constitution and cannot be extended. Please contact Consulting Services at dhr_consultingservices@state.co.us to examine alternatives during the state of emergency.

Q: If a candidate for a classified position on a referral list declines to interview in-person due to COVID, should we remove them from the selection process?

A: We do not advise removing them from the selection process. Agencies should be as flexible as possible with interviewing during this period. Offer alternatives to in-person interviewing such as a virtual interview. Keep in mind that a virtual interview could be considered a reasonable accommodation during this time, and there may be obligations under the ADA.

Q: We are hiring employees during the outbreak; what steps can we take to protect our workforce?

A: The EEOC has provided guidance on this issue and has confirmed that you may screen applicants for symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus after you make a conditional job offer, as long as you do so for all entering employees in the same type of job. You can also take an applicant's temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam after you have made a conditional offer of employment. 

The EEOC has also said you may delay the start date of an applicant who has COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it. According to current CDC guidance, an individual who has the COVID-19 coronavirus or symptoms associated with it should not be in the workplace. The EEOC has also said you may withdraw a job offer when you need the applicant to start immediately but the individual has COVID-19 or symptoms of it.

The State will no longer provide FFCRA leave, as it expires on December 31, 2020. Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) is the new leave entitlement for state employees and FAQs addressing PHEL can be found in the section below titled "Healthy Families Workplaces Act: Public Health Emergency Leave".

Q: What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

A: The FFCRA is a federal law that increased funding for food assistance, Medicaid, unemployment assistance, and testing for the COVID-19 disease. It also requires the State to provide eligible employees with emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) or emergency public health leave (EPHL) for specified reasons related to COVID-19. FFCRA is in effect April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Q: What is emergency paid sick leave (EPSL)?

A: EPSL is for eligible employees to take for the following reasons:

  1. You are subject to quarantine or isolation order;
  2. You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns;
  3. You are experiencing symptoms of and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. You are caring for an individual who either is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns; or
  5. Your son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions;
  6. You are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The State will pay employees utilizing EPSL their regular rate of pay for reasons 1-4 and 6 and two-thirds pay for reason 5, up to 80 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees eligible for leave). While the FFCRA provides the ability to exempt essential and critical staff, the State has decided that all employees, including essential and critical staff, are eligible for EPSL under Reasons 1-3 and 6.

NOTE: Based on the business needs of an agency, essential and critical employees may be eligible for EPSL reasons 4 and 5. Note that this may evolve as the pandemic continues. Agencies are encouraged to balance the needs of employees with business needs and are granted the discretion to determine which critical and essential staff are eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) Qualifying Reason #4 (caring for quarantined individuals) and Reason #5 (caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons). Agencies will communicate directly with their essential and critical employees on their eligibility for EPSL reasons 4 and 5. NOTE: Due to staffing needs and to ensure continuity of operations, agencies may determine that essential and critical staff who have been granted leave may be asked to return to work due to business reasons, and may exercise the broad exemptions for healthcare workers and first responders provided by the FFCRA as needed.

NOTE: For Reason 5, EPSL is limited to two-thirds of the employee's regular rate up to $200 daily and $2,000 total in aggregate for the 2 weeks.

Q: What is emergency public health leave (EPHL)?

A: When the employee must care for their child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) and they cannot telework, a full-time employee is potentially eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave (two weeks of EPSL followed by up to 10 weeks of EPHL) at 40 hours a week (pro-rated  for part-time employees eligible for leave).

NOTE: Essential and critical staff may be eligible for EPHL at the discretion of their agency. Essential and critical staff may be exempted from EPHL based on the Department of Labor's guidance for exempting health care providers and emergency responders, broadly defined in question 56 and 57 of their FAQ.

EPHL is unpaid for the first two weeks of leave but EPSL or accrued leave can be used to cover up to 80 hours at two-thirds pay and the remaining 10 weeks is paid at two-thirds your standard rate of pay. Employees may supplement the two-thirds pay with any accrued leave to bring them to 100% pay.

NOTE: EPHL is limited to two-thirds of the employee's regular rate up to $200 daily and $10,000 total in aggregate for the 10 weeks, ($12,000 total in aggregate for EPSL and EPHL).

Q: Which employees are eligible for EPSL and EPHL?

A: All state employees are eligible including full-time and part-time employees, classified and non-classified, and temporary employees, paid by the state.

Essential and critical employees are eligible for EPSL reasons #1-#3 and #6. Discretion has been granted to agencies in determining which critical and essential staff are eligible for EPSL for Reasons #4 (caring for individuals under quarantine) and #5 (caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons), and Emergency Public Health Leave (EPHL) under the expanded Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) based on staffing needs and to ensure continuity of operations. Note that eligibility for essential and critical staff may change as the pandemic evolves.

There is one difference regarding an employee's eligibility for EPSL and EPHL. While an employee is eligible for EPSL regardless of length of employment, an employee must have been employed for 30 calendar days in order to qualify for EPHL. For example, if an employee requests EPHL on April 10, 2020, they must have been employed since March 11, 2020.

Q: What is my regular rate of pay for purposes of the FFCRA?

A: For purposes of the FFCRA, the regular rate of pay used to calculate paid leave is the average of your regular rate over a period of up to six months prior to the date on which you take leave. If you have not worked for your current agency for six months, the regular rate used to calculate your paid leave is the average of your regular rate of pay for each week you have worked for your current agency.

You can also compute this amount by adding all compensation that is part of the regular rate over the above period and divide that sum by all hours actually worked in the same period.

Q: May I take 80 hours of EPSL for my self-quarantine and then another amount of EPSL for another reason provided under the Act?

A: Employees are limited to 80 hours for a full-time employee (pro-rated for a part-time employee) of EPSL for any combination of the qualifying reasons. However, the total number of hours for which you receive EPSL is capped at 80 hours in a one (1) year period.

Q: Who is a "healthcare provider" for purposes of determining individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave?

A: In this case, the term "healthcare provider" means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FMLA.

Q: If I am home with my child because his or her school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, do I get EPSL, EPHL, or both—how do they interact?

A: If you are unable to telework, you may take both EPSL and EPHL to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. EPSL provides for an initial two weeks (80 hours) of paid leave. This period covers the first ten workdays of EPHL, which are otherwise unpaid under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act unless you elect to use EPSL or accrued leave. After the first ten work days have elapsed, you will receive EPHL of which is two-thirds of your regular rate of pay for the hours you would have been scheduled to work in the subsequent ten weeks. Employees may use EPSL intermittently up to 80 hours if they are able to telework or work on-site with an adjusted schedule.

Please note that you can only receive the additional ten weeks of EPHL to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons and you are unable to telework. Employees are encouraged to work with their supervisors to see how flexible scheduling may allow them to use EPHL intermittently and continue to work on-site or from home. Employees who use EPHL intermittently may do so up to 400 hours if they are able to telework or work on-site with an adjusted schedule.

NOTE: EPHL is limited to two-thirds of the employee's regular rate up to $200 daily and $10,000 total in aggregate for the 10 weeks, ($12,000 total in aggregate for EPSL and EPHL).

Q: Can my agency deny me EPSL if my agency gave me administrative leave for a reason identified prior to the Act going into effect?

A: The Act imposes a new leave requirement that the State must provide to employees beginning April 1, 2020 so agencies cannot deny the use of EPSL for eligible reasons.

Q: Is all leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) now paid leave?

A: Paid leave under the FMLA is limited to EPHL when such leave exceeds (10) ten days. This only applies to leave taken because the employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.

Q: Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

A: If you are an eligible employee, you are entitled to EPSL regardless of how much leave you have taken under the FMLA.

However, your eligibility for EPHL under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act depends on how much FMLA leave you have already taken in the last 12 month period. You may take a total of 12 workweeks for FMLA or expanded family and medical leave reasons during a 12-month period. If you have taken some, but not all, of the 12 workweeks (480 hours if taken intermittently) of your leave under FMLA during the prior 12 month period, you may take the remaining portion of FMLA leave available. If you have already taken 12 workweeks (480 hours if taken intermittently) of FMLA leave during this 12-month period, you may not take additional EPHL under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

For example, assume you took two weeks of FMLA leave in January 2020 to undergo and recover from a surgical procedure. You therefore have 10 weeks of FMLA leave remaining. Because EPHL is a type of FMLA leave, you would be entitled to take up to 10 weeks of EPHL, rather than 12 weeks. And any EPHL you take would count against your entitlement to future FMLA leave during the 12-month period from the time you took in January 2020.

Q: Are the EPSL and EPHL requirements retroactive?

A: The requirements take effect April 1, 2020 and cannot be applied retroactively.

Q: What documents do I need to give my agency to get EPSL or EPHL?

A: Employees are required to submit the Leave Request Form under the FFCRA to your supervisor. Additionally, employees must self-certify the COVID-19-like illness by completing the State of Colorado Self-Certification Form for COVID-19-like Symptoms Form within 15 calendar days from the date of the first absence, barring extenuating circumstances, and present a signed copy to their supervisor, who will provide it to the agency's HR office. Your agency may also require you to provide additional documentation in support of your EPHL taken to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19-related reasons.

Please also note that all existing certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect if you are taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons under the FMLA. For example, if you are taking leave beyond the two weeks of EPSL because your medical condition for COVID-19-related reasons rises to the level of a serious health condition, you must continue to provide medical certifications under the FMLA if required by the agency.

Q: When am I able to telework under the FFCRA?

A: You may telework when your supervisor allows you to perform work while you are at home or at a location other than your normal workplace. Telework is work for which normal wages must be paid and is not compensated under the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA.

Q: What does it mean to be unable to work, including telework for COVID-19 related reasons?

A: You are unable to work if your agency has work for you and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons prevents you from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at your normal worksite or by means of telework.

If you and your supervisor agree that you will work your normal number of hours, but outside of your normally scheduled hours (for instance early in the morning or late at night), then you are able to work and leave is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working that schedule.

Q: If I am or become unable to telework, am I entitled to paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

A: If your supervisor permits teleworking—for example, allows you to perform certain tasks or work a certain number of hours from home or at a location other than your normal workplace—and you are unable to perform those tasks or work the required hours because of one of the qualifying reasons for EPSL, then you are entitled to take EPSL.

Similarly, if you are unable to perform those teleworking tasks or work the required teleworking hours because you need to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, then you are entitled to take EPHL. Of course, to the extent you are able to telework while caring for your child, EPSL and EPHL is not available.

Q: May I take my EPSL or EPHL intermittently while teleworking?

A: Yes, if your supervisor allows it and if you are unable to telework your normal schedule of hours due to one of the qualifying reasons. In that situation, you and your supervisor may agree that you may take EPSL intermittently while teleworking. Similarly, if you are prevented from teleworking your normal schedule of hours because you need to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, you and your supervisor may agree that you can take EPHL intermittently while teleworking.

You may take intermittent leave in any increment, provided that you and your supervisor agree. For example, if you agree on a 90-minute increment, you could telework from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, take leave from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM, and then return to teleworking.

Agencies and supervisors are highly encouraged to collaborate with employees to achieve flexibility and meet mutual needs including voluntary arrangements that combine telework and/or intermittent leave.

Q: May I take EPSL intermittently while working at my usual worksite (as opposed to teleworking)?

A: It depends on why you are taking EPSL and whether your supervisor agrees. Unless you are teleworking, EPSL for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 must be taken in full-day increments and cannot be taken intermittently if it is taken for the following related to COVID-19:

  1. You are subject to quarantine or isolation order;
  2. You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns;
  3. You are experiencing symptoms of and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. You are caring for an individual who either is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns; or
  5. You are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services

Unless you are teleworking, once you begin taking EPSL for one or more of these qualifying reasons listed above, you must continue to take EPSL each day until you either (1) use the full amount of the EPSL or (2) no longer have a qualifying reason for taking EPSL. This limit is imposed because if you are sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, or caring for an individual who is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, the intent of FFCRA is to provide such EPSL as necessary to keep you from spreading the virus to others.

If you no longer have a qualifying reason for taking EPSL before you exhaust your EPSL, you may take any remaining EPSL at a later time, until December 31, 2020, if another qualifying reason occurs.

In contrast, if you and your supervisor agree, you may take EPSL intermittently if you are taking EPSL to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons. For example, if your child is at home because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, you may take EPSL on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to care for your child, but work at your normal worksite or telework on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Supervisors and employees are encouraged to collaborate to achieve maximum flexibility. Therefore, if supervisors and employees agree to intermittent leave on less than a full work day for employees taking EPSL to care for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19-related reasons, the Department is supportive of such voluntary arrangements.

Q: May I take EPHL intermittently while my child's school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, if unable to telework and must report to work?

A: Yes, but only with your supervisor's permission. Intermittent EPHL is permitted only when you and your supervisor agree upon such a schedule. For example, if your supervisor and you agree, you may take EPHL on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but work Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Supervisor and employees should collaborate to achieve flexibility. Therefore, if supervisors and employees agree to intermittent leave on a day-by-day basis, such voluntary arrangements are encouraged.

Q: If I elect to take EPSL or EPHL, must the State continue my healthcare coverage? If I remain on leave beyond the maximum period of EPHL, do I have a right to keep my healthcare coverage?

A: You are entitled to continued group healthcare coverage during your EPHL on the same terms as if you continued to work. You generally must continue to make any normal contributions to the cost of your health coverage.

Q: May I use accrued leave and EPSL and EPHL concurrently for the same hours?

A: If you are receiving two-thirds of your normal earnings from EPHL under the FFCRA, you may use accrued annual or sick leave to get the additional one-third of your normal earnings so that you receive your full normal earnings for each hour.

Q: Do high-risk individuals qualify for the FFCRA?

A: Yes, under the State of Colorado Public Health Order, individuals who are deemed high-risk by CDPHE are urged to remain home, and thus would be covered under the FFCRA. Employees should provide a completed FFCRA Leave Request Form and submit it to their agency's HR or leave administrator. 

For employees who are high-risk due to their own health condition, certification of the condition and high-risk status from a health care provider should also be submitted. Employees who are high-risk due to age will not be required to provide additional documentation.

Q: If an employee just returned from international travel, do they qualify for EPSL under the FFCRA?

A: Yes. This case would qualify as EPSL, because the CDC is recommending that anyone returning from international travel should self-isolate for 14 days. The employee should be given all work from home options first before putting them on EPSL.

Q: If an employee has previously exhausted 12 weeks of FML and needs to be home for child care, will the employee have job protection under FML?

A: If an employee has exhausted their 12 weeks of FML, then they are not eligible for EPHL and would not have job protection under FML if they take off additional time for child care purposes.

Q: Are employees who have been sent home by their agency due to possible exposure to COVID-19, but are asymptomatic, eligible for EPSL?

A: First, the option of telework should be considered. Because the employee is now "high-risk" due to their exposure to COVID-19, they would be eligible for EPSL. An employee may take paid sick leave only if being subject to a public health order prevents them from working or teleworking. If they are not able to telework, they may be placed on EPSL to isolate them from other employees. If the employee exhausts the 80 hours of EPSL but subsequently becomes ill with COVID-19 and needs more time to recover, they may be granted paid administrative leave.

Q: Does the state allow employees to utilize their own leave to supplement the FFCRA EPSL (for child care) and EPHL leave that pays two-thirds pay?

A: Yes, the State Personnel Director approved of allowing employees to use any accrued leave at their discretion to supplement the two-thirds for EPSL and EPHL.

Q: Can parents who both work for the State each take EPSL or EPHL to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons?

A: In the case that both caretakers work for the State, they may take EPSL and/or EPHL at separate times to care for a child when necessary, and actually are, caring for a child if they are unable to work or telework as a result of providing care. Generally, employees do not need to take such leave if a co-parent, co-guardian, or your usual child care provider is available to provide the care your child needs.

To the extent possible, agencies should consider developing alternative shifts to allow essential and critical employees to care for children and/or to maintain social distancing by minimizing the number of employees in the workplace.

The Colorado Emergency Child Care Collaborative has established an emergency childcare system for essential and emergency workers. 2-1-1 Colorado can also help interested families. Families who need help in identifying child care and aren't in need of financial assistance can also reach out to Colorado Shines Child Care Referral for assistance, through any of the below methods: 

Q: I am an employee. I become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, decide to quarantine myself for two weeks, and then return to work. I do not seek a medical diagnosis or the advice of a health care provider. Can I get paid for those two weeks under the FFCRA?

A: Generally no. If you become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, you may take EPSL under the FFCRA only to seek a medical diagnosis or if a health care provider otherwise advises you to self-quarantine. If you test positive for the virus associated with COVID-19 or are advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, you may continue to be on EPSL for up to 80 hours. You may not take EPSL if you unilaterally decide to self-quarantine for an illness without medical advice, even if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Note that you may not take EPSL, if you become ill with an illness not related to COVID-19. Depending on your physical condition and in coordination with your supervisor, you may be able to telework during your period of quarantine or you may have to take sick leave.

Q: When am I eligible for EPSL to care for someone who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order?

A: You may take EPSL to care for an individual who, as a result of being subject to a quarantine or isolation order (see Question 53 in the Department of Labor's FAQ), is unable to care for themselves and depends on you for care and if providing care prevents you from working and from teleworking.

Furthermore, you may only take EPSL to care for an individual who genuinely needs your care. Such an individual includes an immediate family member or someone who regularly resides in your home. You may also take EPSL to care for someone if your relationship creates an expectation that you would care for the person in a quarantine or self-quarantine situation, and that individual depends on you for care during the quarantine or self-quarantine. For example, an adult child caring for an elderly parent who lives on their own.

You may not take EPSL to care for someone with whom you have no relationship. Nor can you take EPSL to care for someone who does not expect or depend on your care during their quarantine or self-quarantine.

Q: When am I eligible for EPSL to care for someone who is self-quarantining?

A: You may take EPSL to care for a self-quarantining individual who is an immediate family member or someone who regularly resides in your home if a health care provider has advised that individual to stay home or otherwise quarantine themselves because they may have COVID-19 or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and provision of care to that individual prevents you from working (or teleworking).

Q: Is the stay at home order considered an isolation order that the employee can claim 100% paid leave under the 80 hours of EPSL?

A: The stay-at-home order allows for employees of essential businesses (like the State) to report to work (or telework), so they would not be eligible for EPSL under the order. If an employee is ill or at high risk for infection and cannot telework, the order urges those individuals to stay home and they would be eligible for EPSL. If the employee is choosing to self-isolate, without any orders from a medical professional, they would need to use accrued time.

Q: Would an employee who has a disabled adult child whose day facility has shut down due to COVID-19 be eligible for EPSL and EPHL to care for the child?

A: Coverage under FFCRA for adult children follows the same rules as FMLA. In general, an employee may not take EPSL or EPHL to care for a son or daughter who is 18 years of age or older. However, an employee may take EPSL or EPHL to care for a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, who is 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Q: If a critical or essential employee is deemed not eligible for EPSL or EPHL, can they use their own sick leave for child care?

A: Based on emergency rule 5-41, the employee could use any accrued leave (annual, sick or compensatory) for child care.

Q: If an employee is assisting in taking care of a grandchild due to a school or daycare closure during COVID-19, what leave would they be able to take?

A: Employees may use any accrued leave (annual, sick or compensatory) pursuant to rule 5-41 to help out with childcare.

Q: If a child's school is operating on a hybrid attendance schedule (e.g. alternate day in person with remote learning), can an employee take paid leave under the FFCRA?

A: Yes, an employee may take paid leave under the FFCRA on days when a child is not permitted to attend school in person and must instead engage in remote learning. For purposes of the FFCRA, the school is effectively "closed" to a child on days that they cannot attend in person. An employee may take paid leave under the FFCRA on each remote-learning day.

Q: If a school gave a choice between having students attend in person or participate in a remote learning program and an employee chose the remote learning option due to concerns about COVID-19, can the employee take paid leave under the FFCRA?

A: No, even if an employee chooses to keep a child at home, FFCRA leave is not available to take care of a child whose school is open for in-person attendance. For the purposes of the FFCRA, employees are not eligible to take paid leave because the child's school is not "closed."However, if a child is under a quarantine order or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-isolate or self-quarantine due to COVID-19, employees may be eligible to take paid leave to care for the child.

Q: Can employees take paid leave under the FFCRA if a child's school is beginning the school year under a remote learning program out of concern for COVID-19, but will continue to evaluate local circumstances and make a decision about reopening for in-person attendance later in the school year?

A: Yes, employees are eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA while a child's school remains closed. If a school reopens, the availability of paid leave under the FFCRA will be available only on days when remote learning is required.

Q: What is Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)? 

A: The Healthy Families Workplaces Act (HFWA) is a law that requires the State to provide employees with Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) for specified reasons related to a declared public health emergency (currently, COVID-19) effective January 1, 2021. The State will provide employees up to eighty (80) hours of paid leave (prorated for a part-time employee) during the entirety of a public health emergency even if such public health emergency is amended, extended, restated, or prolonged, and until four (4) weeks after the public health emergency leave ends. PHEL provisions replace the required emergency paid sick leave and public health emergency leave provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which expired on December 31, 2020. 

Q: What are the specific reasons for PHEL?

A: Eligible employees may take PHEL for the following reasons:

  1. Needing to self-isolate because the employee is diagnosed or experiencing symptoms of the communicable illness
  2. Seeking or obtaining medical diagnosis, care or treatment, preventative care, or care of such illness;
  3. Being exposed to, or experiencing symptoms of, such illness;
  4. Being unable to work due to a health condition that may increase susceptibility or risk of such illness;
  5. Caring for a child or other family member for reasons 1, 2, or 3 above, or whose school, child care provider, or other care provider is either unavailable, closed, or providing remote instruction due to the public health emergency; or
  6. Closure of the temporary employee's work location, and work cannot be performed remotely. 

Q: Which employees are eligible for PHEL?

A: Regardless of tenure, all state employees are eligible including full-time and part-time employees, classified and non-classified, and temporary employees who are paid by the state. 

Q: Can an employee take 80 hours of PHEL for self-quarantine and then another amount of PHEL for another reason provided under the Act?

A: Employees are limited to eighty (80) hours for a full-time employee (prorated for a part-time employee) of PHEL for any combination of the qualifying reasons. The total number of hours for which an employee receives PHEL is capped at eighty (80) hours during the entirety of a public health emergency even if such public health emergency is amended, extended, restated, or prolonged. Employees should work with their supervisor and agency human resources office if they have additional needs for leave.

Q: If an employee is home with a child because his or her school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, does the employee get PHEL?

A: If an employee is unable to work remotely, they may take PHEL to care for the child whose school or place of care is closed, or their child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. PHEL provides for eighty (80) hours of paid leave, prorated for part-time employees. 

Employees may use PHEL intermittently, up to eighty (80) hours, if they are able to work remotely or work on-site with an adjusted schedule. Employees are encouraged to work with their supervisors to see how flexible scheduling may allow them to use PHEL intermittently and continue to work on-site or remotely.

Q: Can an agency deny PHEL if an employee was given administrative leave and/or FFCRA related leave for a reason identified prior to the Act going into effect?

A: HFWA imposes a new leave requirement, PHEL, that the State must provide to employees beginning January 1, 2021 so agencies cannot deny the use of PHEL for eligible reasons. FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020 and should not be utilized.

Q: Does an employee qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if they have already used some or all of their leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

A: If an employee is an eligible employee, they are entitled to PHEL regardless of how much leave they have taken under the FMLA.

Q: Are the PHEL requirements retroactive?

A: The requirements take effect January 1, 2021 and cannot be applied retroactively.

Q: What documents do employees need to provide to their agency for PHEL?

A: Documentation is not required for PHEL. However, employees shall notify their supervisors or managers of their need for leave as soon as practicable if (1) the need for leave is foreseeable and (2) the employer's place of business is not closed. 

Q: When are employees able to work remotely under the HFWA?

A: Employees may work remotely when their supervisor allows them to perform work while at home or at a location other than their normal workplace. Remote work is work for which normal wages must be paid and is not compensated under the paid leave provisions of the HFWA.

Q: What does it mean to be unable to work, including working remotely for COVID-19 related reasons?

A: Employees are unable to work if their agency has work for an employee and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons prevents an employee from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at their normal worksite or by means of remote work.

If an employee and their supervisor agree that they will work their normal number of hours, but outside of the normally scheduled hours (for instance early in the morning or late at night), then the employee is able to work and leave is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents them from working that schedule.

Q: If an employee is or becomes unable to work remotely, are they entitled to PHEL?

A: If the supervisor permits remote work. For example, allows the employee to perform certain tasks or work a certain number of hours from home or at a location other than the normal workplace and the employee is unable to perform those tasks or work the required hours because of one of the qualifying reasons for PHEL, then they are entitled to take PHEL.

Q: Can an employee take PHEL intermittently while working remotely?

A: Yes, if the supervisor allows remote work and the employee is unable to work remotely within normal schedule of hours due to one of the qualifying reasons. In that situation, the employee and the supervisor may agree that PHEL can be taken intermittently while working remotely. Similarly, if an employee is prevented from working remotely within normal schedule of hours because they need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, the employee and the supervisor may agree that PHEL can be taken intermittently while working remotely.

Intermittent leave can be taken in any increment, provided that the employee and supervisor agree. For example, if a 90-minute increment is agreed upon, the employee could work remotely from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, take leave from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM, and then return to remote work.

Agencies and supervisors are highly encouraged to collaborate with employees to achieve flexibility and meet mutual needs including voluntary arrangements that combine remote work and/or intermittent leave.

Q: Can an employee take PHEL intermittently while working at their usual worksite (as opposed to working remotely)?

A: It depends on why the PHEL is being taken and whether the supervisor agrees. Unless an employee is working remotely, PHEL must be taken in full-day increments and cannot be taken intermittently if it is taken for the qualifying reasons related to COVID-19.

Unless the employee is working remotely, once they begin taking PHEL for one or more of these qualifying reasons listed above, they must continue to take PHEL each day until they either (1) use the full amount of the PHEL or (2) no longer have a qualifying reason for taking PHEL. This limit is imposed because if an employee is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, or caring for an individual who is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, the intent of HFWA is to provide such PHEL as necessary to keep from spreading the virus to others.

Q: Can an employee take PHEL intermittently while a child's school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, if they are unable to work remotely and must report to work?

A: Yes, but only with the supervisor's permission. Intermittent PHEL is permitted only when an employee and their supervisor agree upon such a schedule. For example, if agreed upon, an employee may take PHEL on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but work Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Supervisor and employees should collaborate to achieve flexibility. Therefore, if supervisors and employees agree to intermittent leave on a day-by-day basis, such voluntary arrangements are encouraged.

Q: If an employee elects to take PHEL, must the State continue their healthcare coverage? If an employee remains on leave beyond the maximum period of PHEL, do they have a right to keep my healthcare coverage?

A: Employees are entitled to continued group healthcare coverage during your PHEL on the same terms as if they continued to work. The employee generally must continue to make any normal contributions to the cost of their health coverage.

Q: Do high-risk individuals qualify for the PHEL?

A: Yes, under the State of Colorado Public Health Order, individuals who are deemed high-risk by CDPHE are urged to remain home, and thus would be covered under HFWA. An employee shall notify their supervisor or manager of their need for leave as soon as practicable if (1) the need for leave is foreseeable and (2) the employer's place of business is not closed. 

Q: Are employees who have been sent home by their agency due to possible exposure to COVID-19, but are asymptomatic, eligible for PHEL?

A: First, the option of remote work should be considered. Because the employee is now "high-risk" due to their exposure to COVID-19, they would be eligible for PHEL. An employee may take paid sick leave only if being subject to a public health order prevents them from working or working remotely. If they are not able to work remotely, they may be placed on PHEL to isolate them from other employees. If the employee exhausts the 80 hours of PHEL but subsequently becomes ill with COVID-19 and needs more time to recover, they should work with their supervisor and agency human resources office to determine additional leave options.

Q: Can parents who both work for the State each take PHEL to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons?

A: In the case that both caretakers work for the State, they may take PHEL at separate times to care for a child when necessary, as long as they are actually caring for a child and unable to work or telework as a result of providing that care. Generally, employees do not need to take such leave if a co-parent, co-guardian, or their usual child care provider is available to provide the care their child needs.

To the extent possible, agencies should consider developing alternative shifts to allow essential and critical employees to care for children and/or to maintain social distancing by minimizing the number of employees in the workplace.

The Colorado Office of Early Childhood provides resources to families in need. 2-1-1 Colorado can also help interested families. Families who need help in identifying child care and aren't in need of financial assistance can also reach out to Colorado Shines Child Care Referral for assistance, through any of the below methods: 

Q: When is an employee eligible for PHEL to care for someone who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order?

A: Employees may take PHEL to care for a family member who is, as a result of being subject to a quarantine or isolation order, unable to care for themselves and depends on the employee for care and if providing care prevents the employee from working either in person or remotely.

Furthermore, employees may only take PHEL to care for a family member who genuinely needs care. Qualifying "family" members are immediate family (related by blood, adoption, marriage, or civil union), a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis or a person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a minor or anyone else for whom the employee is responsible for providing or arranging health- or safety-related care.

Q: When is an employee eligible for PHEL to care for someone who is self-quarantining?

A: Employees may take PEHL to care for a self-quarantining individual who is an immediate family member or someone who regularly resides in their home if a health care provider has advised that individual to stay home or otherwise quarantine because they may have COVID-19 or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and provision of care to that individual prevents them from working (or working remotely).

Q: Is the stay at home order considered an isolation order that the employee can claim 100% paid leave under the 80 hours of PHEL?

A:  The stay-at-home order allows for employees of essential businesses (like the State) to report to work (or work remotely), so they would not be automatically eligible for PHEL under the order. If an employee is ill or at high risk for infection and cannot work remotely, the order urges those individuals to stay home and they would be eligible for PHEL. If the employee is choosing to self-isolate, without any orders from a medical professional, they would need to use accrued time.

Q: Would an employee who has a disabled adult child whose day facility has shut down due to COVID-19 be eligible for PHEL to care for the child?

A: In general, an employee may only take PHEL to care for a family member who genuinely needs care. Qualifying "family" members are immediate family (related by blood, adoption, marriage, or civil union), a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis or a person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a minor or anyone else for whom the employee is responsible for providing or arranging health- or safety-related care.

Q: If an employee is assisting in taking care of a grandchild due to a school or daycare closure during COVID-19, what leave would they be able to take? 

A: Employees may use any accrued leave (annual, sick or compensatory) pursuant to rule 5-40 to help out with childcare.

Q: If a child's school is operating on a hybrid attendance schedule (e.g. alternate day in person with remote learning), can an employee take PHEL? 

A: Yes, an employee may take PHEL on days when a child is not permitted to attend school in person and must instead engage in remote learning. For purposes of the HFWA, the school is effectively "closed" to a child on days that they cannot attend in person. An employee may take PHEL on each remote-learning day if their child requires care on those days and they are unable to work remotely.

Q: If a school gave a choice between having students attend in person or participate in a remote learning program and an employee chose the remote learning option due to concerns about COVID-19, can the employee take PHEL?

A: No, even if an employee chooses to keep a child at home, PHEL is not available to take care of a child whose school is open for in-person attendance. For the purposes of the PHEL, employees are not eligible to take paid leave because the child's school is not "closed." However, if a child is under a quarantine order or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-isolate or self-quarantine due to COVID-19, employees may be eligible to take PHEL to care for the child. 

Q: Can employees take paid leave under the HFWA if a child's school is beginning the school year under a remote learning program out of concern for COVID-19, but will continue to evaluate local circumstances and make a decision about reopening for in-person attendance later in the school year?

A: Yes, employees are eligible to take paid leave under the HFWA while a child's school remains closed. If a school reopens, the availability of paid leave under the HFWA will be available only on days when remote learning is required.

Q: If an employee has symptoms, can we force them to get tested?

A: If an employee has symptoms, they should be sent home immediately. You should encourage, but cannot require, them to call a healthcare provider, clinic, or hospital as the provider can give them instructions on whether they need to be tested and on where to go for care and testing. If instructed to seek care, they should follow the precautionary advice of the medical provider before going into any health facility. See CDPHE's guidance on testing. You may require an employee to be tested as a condition of returning to work.

Q: Are we going to require employees to submit a medical certification for absences longer than three days, or a fitness to return if they are absent from work due to illness (required by personnel statute)?

A: On March 11, 2020, the Governor issued an executive order temporarily suspending the requirement for a doctor's note for absences from work for three or more consecutive days due to COVID-19-like symptoms. In lieu of a doctor's note, employees must self-certify the COVID-19-like illness by completing the State of Colorado Self-Certification Form for COVID-19-like Symptoms Form within 15 calendar days from the date of the first absence, barring extenuating circumstances, and present a signed copy to their supervisor, who will provide it to the agency's HR office. The suspension of the medical certificate requirement does not suspend any documentation requirements that pertain to serious health conditions or injuries, as defined in the State Personnel Administrative Procedures, Rule 1-69, that may qualify for job-protection under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Q: When can employees return to work following COVID-19-like symptoms?

A: Use the CDC Discontinuation of Home Isolation guidelines to determine if it's safe for an employee who has been out ill to return to work. Currently, their guidelines indicate it is safe when the employee is free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 72 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants) AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Please refer to their website for any updates to this guidance.

Q: What is the guidance around the use of leave sharing programs?

A: Employees who have leave available to donate may continue to utilize their agency's leave sharing program to support their colleagues during this period. Agencies should review their current program in conjunction with rules 5-8 and 5-9.

Q: What is the guidance around the use of overtime and/or comp time for employees called in to cover work for an infected employee?

A: Agencies are encouraged to evaluate their current policies to ensure they are able to allow payout of overtime if budgets allow. Overtime/Compensatory time must be granted only to non-exempt employees who are working more than 40 hours in their FLSA workweek. Exempt employees who are covering for absences may be granted incentive pay or paid administrative leave as recognition of their efforts based on an agency's existing compensation policies.

Q: Emergency rule 5-4 allows the roll over of up to 80 hours annual leave due to employees not having a reasonable opportunity to use their annual leave based on business necessity during the COVID-19 crisis. If the State of Disaster Emergency ends prior to June 30, is the rule no longer effective and leave would not be rolled over?

A: If an employee was precluded from taking leave as a result of business need during the State of Disaster Emergency, the employee would have the option to roll over 80 hours of that leave or have the leave paid out. Once the State of Disaster Emergency ends, employees who are precluded from taking annual leave because of business need will only be permitted to have the leave paid out.

Q: With emergency rules being effective April 1, can agencies retroactively apply emergency rule 5-7 back to the date of the declared state of emergency so employees can be allowed to go negative 40 hours in their sick leave bank and reassign sick hours that were unpaid (leave without pay) in March to a negative leave balance?

A: Emergency rule 5-7 cannot be applied retroactively before April 1. The emergency rule is effective the day it is signed by the State Personnel Director and expires in 120 days. The rule may be applied on the effective date and any date thereafter until it expires.

Q: Due to safety and health concerns related to COVID-19, many healthcare providers are treating patients for a variety of conditions, including those unrelated to COVID-19, via telemedicine. Telemedicine involves face-to-face examinations or treatment of patients by remote video conference via computers or mobile devices. Under these circumstances, will a telemedicine visit count as an in-person visit to establish a serious health condition under the FMLA?

A: The Wage and Hour Division will consider telemedicine visits to be in-person visits, and will consider electronic signatures to be signatures, for purposes of establishing a serious health condition under the FMLA. To be considered an in-person visit, the telemedicine visit must include an examination, evaluation, or treatment by a health care provider; be performed by video conference; and be permitted and accepted by state licensing authorities. This approach serves the public's interest because health care facilities and clinicians around the nation are under advisories to prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures and to preserve staff personal protective equipment and patient-care supplies.

Q: Is the Colorado State Employees Assistance Program (CSEAP) providing any services relating to COVID-19?

A: Taking care of yourself during times of stress and uncertainty is extremely important. In addition to CSEAP services, these resources have been collected for State of Colorado employees to help you maintain your own wellness during an infectious disease outbreak.

CSEAP will be providing recurring webinars on Managing Stress and Anxiety During Uncertain Times. Participants are limited to 100 so will be providing this training on a weekly basis during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this webinar acknowledges the uncertainty of our current pandemic, this presentation does NOT provide an educational focus on COVID-19 or workplace response to COVID-19. Visit the CSEAP website for the most recent information on CSEAP's available webinar trainings. Of course, CSEAP will also continue to offer one-on-one counseling and referral services, and leveraging virtual counseling where appropriate to ensure the safety of clients and counselors. Please contact 303-866-4314 or Toll Free 800-821-8154 to make an appointment. Office hours are Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.  After hours contact is Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or coloradocrisisservices.org.

Q: COVID-19 is constantly on our minds. What resources can you provide to help make sure employees are taking care of themselves?

A: Taking care of yourself during times of stress and uncertainty is extremely important. In addition to CSEAP services, these resources have been collected for State of Colorado employees to help you maintain your own wellness during an infectious disease outbreak.

Q: Will the increase to 10.5% deduction from the current 8.75% still take place on July 1 or will that be delayed due to COVID-19?

A: Yes, as the rates are set by statute, the increase to contributions will still occur on July 1, 2020.

Q: What options are there to state employees to tap into retirement funds during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: As has been the case previously, members cannot access their funds in either the PERA Defined Benefit (DB) retirement plan or the PERA Defined Contribution (DC) retirement plan, unless they terminate PERA-covered employment and either take a lump-sum refund or a monthly retirement benefit. However, the CARES Act has provided some additional access to retirement funds into participants in either the PERAPlus 401(k) or 457 plan:

Coronavirus-related Distribution Without a Tax Penalty – PERAPlus 401(k)/457 Plans Members can take up to $100,000 as a "coronavirus-related distribution" between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Members may spread taxes on the distribution over a three-year period. Also, there is no additional tax penalty for this early distribution. (Currently, members in the PERAPlus 401(k) Plan are subject to a 10% penalty for any distribution prior to age 59½.)

Coronavirus-related distributions are broadly defined as distributions to an individual who:

  • Is diagnosed with COVID-19; or
  • Has a spouse/dependent who is diagnosed with COVID-19; or
  • Experiences adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, having work hours reduced, or being unable to work due to lack of childcare.

Expanded Loans – PERAPlus 401(k)/457 Plans

For the 180-day period beginning on the date the CARES Act is enacted, PERAPlus participants who are affected by COVID-19 (see the 3 situations above) can take up to $100,000 as a loan (instead of the current $50,000 maximum) and the loan amount can be up to the full account balance (rather than half the account balance as it currently exists).

Repayment of these expanded loans, as well as existing loans, is also delayed for one year for those participants affected by COVID-19. Voya, PERA's recordkeeper for the 401(k) and 457 plans, is working to implement these new provisions related to COVID-19.

Q: My child's school is closed as a result of COVID-19. Can I work from home?

A: Continuity of operations must be the first consideration when allowing employees to work from home, and employees should work directly with their supervisors to balance business needs with employee safety and needs. Agencies are encouraged to permit employees with impacted children or other dependents to work from home if possible, while still meeting business needs. Further, agencies are encouraged to amend their alternative/flex work policies to allow employees to work from home while caring for a dependent during a state of emergency. For employees who cannot work from home, employees should work with their supervisors to identify alternative schedules that may be available and if necessary, an employee may use leave to stay at home with impacted children or dependents.

Q: What resources are available to employees who must report to work and their childcare care provider is not available or daycare is closed?

A: The Colorado Emergency Child Care Collaborative has established an emergency childcare system for essential and emergency workers. Employees can apply to be provided with care. They will notify families of potential care providers that meet their needs and provide directions on how best to reach out to the provider to arrange enrollment. 2-1-1 Colorado can also help interested families.

Care through the Collaborative is provided by licensed child care providers across Colorado. It is important for families to note that the supply of care is limited, and if they can utilize other care, or are able to work from home, they should do so. Emergency child care provided through the Collaborative is for when all other care settings have been exhausted and families have no other options.

Families who need help in identifying child care and aren't in need of financial assistance can also reach out to Colorado Shines Child Care Referral for assistance, through any of the below methods:

Q: What actions are being considered to help parents who are caring for children out of school while also working from home?

A: Employees are encouraged to work with their supervisor to discuss flexible scheduling or modifications to their schedule to balance the needs of their work with that of caring for their children during the day. In addition, here are some best practices from the Colorado Department of Education for working parents that will assist with keeping children on task with at-home schoolwork.

Q: Where can state employees learn more about the vaccine and vaccine safety, etc.?

A: The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) website at covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine provides information and resources about the COVID-19 vaccine. 
 
Frequently asked questions are available at covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine-faq and address the following topics:

Coloradans may also receive updates from the Office of Governor Jared Polis on Colorado's COVID-19 response and state initiatives by signing up for his newsletter here

Q: As an employer, can the State mandate state employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Yes. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has more information regarding this on the EEOC website

Q: What should an employee do if they receive the vaccine and exhibit side effects or symptoms?

A: An employee should notify their supervisor and be allowed to take the new Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) until their symptoms subside which generally should be no more than 48 hours. PHEL is limited to up to 80 hours (prorated for part-time).

If an employee develops COVID-19 symptoms more than one to two weeks after being fully vaccinated, they should isolate and contact their healthcare provider for instructions on whether to be tested for COVID-19 or other infections.

Q: If an employee gets sick from the COVID vaccination, will they qualify for the Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)?

A: Employees who receive the vaccine may experience COVID-like symptoms and could qualify for PHEL. Reasons for PHEL can be found here. Agencies are encouraged to utilize PHEL, as appropriate, to maintain the health and safety of employees and worksites. Employee’s should work with their agency’s HR office regarding the use of PHEL.

Employees who receive the vaccination by the agency or third-party administrator the State has contracted with to administer the vaccination and experience COVID-like symptoms may be eligible for worker’s compensation.

Q: Should employees who have had COVID get vaccinated?

A: Information pertaining to this question is located under the topic Getting the COVID-19 vaccine of FAQs provided by CDPHE which provides the following information:

  • Data from Pfizer’s clinical trials suggest that the Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are likely safe and effective in people who have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection.
  • The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends waiting at least 90 days after recovering from COVID-19 before getting the vaccine.
  • Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, and cases of reinfection have been reported. 
  • The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes recommendations on how to best use COVID-19 vaccines, and the FDA authorizes use. 

Q: Will employees have to pay for the vaccine?

A: The vaccine is free to Coloradans so that cost will not be an obstacle to getting the vaccine. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance are required to cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccines - and there will be no co-pay or office visit charge. In addition, uninsured Coloradans will have access to free vaccines.

More importantly, a vaccine provider may not turn people away for the vaccine because of an inability to pay or their medical coverage status.

For general questions around the side effects and safety of the vaccines, please see FAQs about Vaccine safety and development developed by CDPHE.

Q: What should the employer do if an employee has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and the employee's supervisor has reason to believe that the employee may have acquired the illness through exposure at work?

A: While determining whether an employee's contraction of COVID-19 is work-related can be difficult, it is important to follow normal protocols when an employee reports an alleged workers' compensation claim or occupational disease including:

  • Completing one IOJ or incident investigation and paperwork.
  • Providing the employee with a Designated Provider List.
  • Reporting the claim to the State’s workers’ compensation TPA immediately
  • The TPA will report the claim to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) Division of Workers’ Compensation (DOWC) within 10 days as required by law).
  • If the employee missed work for more than 3 days or sustained permanent impairment, the TPA must file a First Report of Injury with the DOWC and either admit or deny the workers' compensation claim.

IMPORTANT: Agencies must report employee COVID-19 claims to Risk Management and the State’s workers’ compensation TPA if the employee, agency, or a supervisor knows or has reason to believe the employee contracted COVID-19 from work or could be fined by the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DOWC) up to $1,000 per day.


For example, if the employee tells a supervisor he believes he contracted the disease while working or there is a known outbreak at a particular employer location, that potential workers’ compensation claim must be reported to the State Office of Risk Management and the State’s workers’ compensation TPA within four days. The laws that require the State, through its TPA, to report claims to the DOWC are meant to ensure employees are being informed of their rights and the DOWC can properly supervise the enforcement of workplace health and safety laws.


An agency's failure to report these potential workers' compensation claims can result in stiff penalties being assessed against the State up to $1,000 per day. In most circumstances, SORM will require agencies to pay the penalties directly, instead of through the pool, including situations where an agency intentionally failed to report known or suspected work-related COVID claims to SORM or the State’s TPA.

Q: What if an employee who tests positive for COVID doesn't want to pursue a workers' compensation claim?

A: Some employees may not be interested in pursuing a claim for workers' compensation for a potentially work-related contraction of COVID-19. They may have been made whole by other benefits, including emergency sick leave under federal law. They may have been given administrative leave. They may want to avoid the additional paperwork and administrative burdens that come with filing a claim. They may also believe they contracted COVID outside of work. However, agencies are still under a legal obligation to report any employee with COVID-19 who the employer knows or believes contracted COVID at work and provide the designated provider list to the employee. In the event there are three days or more of lost time (off work) or permanent impairment, the State’s TPA for workers’ compensation  is required to file a General Admission of Liability or a Notice of Contest.

In determining whether to file an Admission or a Notice of Contest, the State’s TPA  will assist in gathering facts and speaking with the employee. If an employee reports that they do not want to pursue a workers' compensation claim, a Notice of Contest may be filed based on their written statement that they do not want to pursue the claim. No further action will be necessary on the employee's part.

Q: If COVID-19 is detected at a State facility or building, how will workers' compensation handle this? 

A: It would depend on whether a causal relationship can be established. The exposure to COVID-19 has to be determined to be something that is unique to employment; the investigation would have to determine that the virus was transmitted via contact while at work or performing essential functions of the job. For certain classes of workers, the answer is clearer. If the employee is a worker in the medical field or a first responder who was exposed at work, then yes, it would be compensable through worker’s compensation. If the employee was on business travel to areas with widespread community transmission, this would likely be compensable as well. All claims of contracting the virus at work would need to be proven through an investigation. Employees who contract COVID-19 at work will be placed on PHEL until a determination is made if it is covered by workers’ compensation. If it is covered by workers’ compensation, an employee would transition to injury leave coverage under workers’ compensation.

Q: Are employees working from home covered by workers' compensation?

A: Yes. Employees working from home are covered under workers' compensation for injuries arising out of the course and scope of employment. Coverage applies to the same extent it would if an employee were injured in the office. While the circumstances of each employee's home environment may differ from the office, we cannot tell an employee not to file a claim related to an injury sustained while working from home. If an employee notifies their employer that they want to file a claim, we will handle that situation as we would any other work-related claim. Please Note: The State of Colorado assumes no liability for injuries occurring at the work from home location outside of the employee's work hours or injuries that do not arise out of employment. The State of Colorado is not responsible for injuries to third parties, including family members, at the work-from-home location, or for damages to the employee's personal property.

Q: What are employees' responsibilities for reporting incident or injury occurring at home?

A: By law, the employee must report a work-related injury or illness in writing to the employer within 96 hours (4 calendar days) even if the employer has actual knowledge of the injury or illness. The State's third-party administrator (TPA) will adjust the claim and investigate the injury or illness for compensability. If the claim is found not compensable, all medical costs will be the responsibility of the employee or the employee's primary insurance carrier.

Q: What is the timeline for employers to report a workers' compensation claim?

A: All agencies and institutes of higher education covered through the State Office of Risk Management’s (SORM) self-insured program are required to report the injury to the State’s workers’ compensation TPA within 24 hours from the date of notification that the accident or incident occurred. If the employee does not want to complete a first report of injury or does not comply with providing a written statement, this does not alleviate the employer or supervisor of responsibility under the 24-hour reporting requirement.

Q: What other responsibilities do employers and supervisors have?

A: The employer must provide the injured employee with an up-to-date designated provider list, along with the first report of injury (FROI) form to properly document the injury. Please have employees call the State’s dedicated Nurse Triage Line (linked below) for an injury evaluation and referral to a designated provider. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1wC1kb99cKQYk6rAIAKn7SSDolqhfcjEr

Q: What are some steps employees can take to minimize risk and improve safety while working at home?

A: SORM strongly encourages employees working from home to do the best they can to create an adequate and ergonomically correct workspace. An adequate work space is one that enables the employee to fully perform the requirements of the job. This includes, but is not limited to, physical dimensions; quiet and distraction-free space; proper furniture; equipment such as computer and monitor; internet capability; phone; and privacy. Due to the State of Colorado and CDC guidelines, no in-person ergonomic evaluations will be performed by SORM or TPA  staff. Please visit the SORM web page to take an online ergonomic assessment. Additionally, employees should review the Flexplace Safety Checklist to assess the suitability and safety of the workspace.

Q: Can employees take EPSL or EPHL if they are receiving non-COVID-19 related workers' compensation or temporary disability benefits through an employer or state-provided plan?

A: In general, no, unless the employee was able to return to light duty before needing to take leave related to COVID-19. If they receive workers' compensation or temporary disability benefits not related to COVID-19 and because they are unable to work, EPSL or EPHL may not be taken. However, if the employee is able to return to light duty and a qualifying reason prevents them from working, EPSL or EPHL may be taken, as the situation warrants.

Q: What is the guidance for state agencies on utilizing telework and working from home? Is that developed on an agency basis?

A: As a temporary measure and as appropriate based on the current circumstances related to COVID-19, state agencies should begin developing a plan for work from home whenever practical to maintain business operations and continuity of service. This may require modifications to standard duties or exceptions to typical telework practices. Additionally, agencies are advised to modify (at least temporarily) their telework policies to allow employees to work remotely at the same time they are caring for a child or other dependent during state-recognized emergency situations.

Q: What are best practices for working at home?

A: Governing, an online magazine for state and local governments, provides a top ten list. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment prepared a comprehensive guide on best practices.

Q: What should agencies be considering from a technology perspective to allow employees to work from home?

A: Agencies have assessed the need for remote access to important state systems, and if equipment will be needed for employees to work from home (e.g., laptops and internet connection). The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has convened a task force to support agencies in this effort, and their Tech Kit for Remote Workers provides guidance on how to make working from home successful. Employees should review the guidance along with the Remote Cybersecurity Tips to ensure state and personal information is secure. This guidance and additional resources can also be found on the State's TechU website. Please note, this guidance is a working document and may change as situations evolve. Please contact your IT Director if you have questions. 

Q:  If an employee does not have an internet connection and wants to work from home, will the State pay for this service?

A:  If the employee is asking to work from home — and not being directed — they should supply everything needed to do so, including internet service. If they have a hot spot on their phone, they could choose to use that instead. Agencies can decide to supply other equipment (e.g., laptop, printer) for employees choosing to work from home.

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Procurement and Contract Management Questions

Q. How can my commercial card limit be adjusted?

A. Agencies/IHEs can adjust limits of commercial cards as needed and appropriate. An agency/IHE chief fiscal officer (the top financial position in the State agency or Institution of Higher Education) can give approval to increase commercial card limits over $5,000. This approval does not waive the encumbrance requirement unless this is tied to a specific emergency purchase approved by the procurement official.

Q. My agency is not set up for electronic signatures. What alternatives do I have for expediting the signing of contracts?

A. OIT has offered to assist with contract signing for those agencies not yet using eSignature. Contact Noah Kaplan at OIT noah.kaplan@state.co.us for information on getting help with urgent or high priority contracts.

Q. Can our agency use fax signatures for contract approval?

A. Yes, fax signatures are acceptable for contract approval. Hard copies of the signatures should be sent subsequently to the agency/IHE. Also, agencies and vendors/grantees can use counterpart signatures which means parties can sign separately; they all do not need to sign the same signature page.

Q. Can an agency use an electronic signature from a vendor not approved by OIT, such as Adobe?

A. Adobe digital signatures do not meet OIT's security standards. OIT Procurement has offered to route other agencies' contracts through DocuSign. Contact Noah Kaplan noah.kaplan@state.co.us. Agencies can also use fax and counterpart signatures.

Q. Does the State have a force majeure or acts of God clauses in its contract templates so that vendor performance could be excused during this pandemic?

A. The State does not have such clauses in its templates because of the need for vendors to continue to provide services during an emergency such as this pandemic.

Q. What are the guidelines for design and construction contracts?

A. The Office of the State Architect (OSA) has issued "Modification to Basic Steps During Social Distancing." Please see OSA's website under "State Buildings" and "Project Management Policies/Guidelines."

Q. An agency has a fixed price contract for services, such as armored car service. With the reduction in activity at the agency, should the department reduce its payment to the vendor for these services?

A. In accordance with the Governor's direction during the disaster declaration, an agency should continue to pay the amount in the fixed price contract.

Q. What flexibility does a State agency have with its vendors and grantees in meeting deliverables?

A. Agencies can provide vendors and grantees with some flexibility by not fully enforcing the terms of the contract without waiving any of the State's remedies as provided by the waiver section of the general terms and conditions. Agencies could extend deadlines and waive certain obligations at the discretion of the agency.

Q. What if a contractor does not meet milestones and still wants to be paid?

A. The State cannot pay for milestones that were not delivered by the contractor. The agency can pay a fair amount for the work performed.

Q. What if the contractor cannot meet future milestones because of the pandemic?

A. The agency should amend the contract to provide for a milestone delivery schedule that is consistent with current conditions.

Q. What if an agency is not able to meet its performance obligations due to staff being pulled from normal work to assist with this emergency?

A. In this case, the agency should amend the contract. The agency should decide how to proceed on a case-by-case basis, with alternatives of extending the contract with the same deliverables, modifying the deliverables, or stopping work and cancelling the contract.

Q. How does an agency handle a situation where a vendor or grantee is experiencing cash flow shortages?

A. In this case, the agency should prepare an evaluation of the benefits and risks of making an advance payment including non-performance. If the agency concludes that the benefits outweigh the risks, then the agency should request an advance payment waiver from the OSC. Contact Nate Weatherford at CCU nathan.weatherford@state.co.us.

Q: Does the State have guidance available for terminating or reducing POs/contracts due to lack of funds?

A: Yes, see Contract Termination Due to Lack of Funds.

Q. What are the executive orders issued during the disaster emergency and which ones apply to procurement?

A. The Governor's Executive Order, D 2020 032, authorizes the temporary suspension of the following statutory requirements related to the State's procurement of goods and services that are reasonably necessary to save lives, mitigate the effects of the pandemic, prevent further spread of COVID-19, and protect against overwhelming our health care system. For more information, view the full Executive Order here.

State Agencies

Q. Is there guidance for State Agencies regarding personnel cost tracking on projects related to COVID-19?

A. Yes. Please see the PDF: Revised Guidance for State Agencies on Personnel Cost Tracking - COVID-19.

Q. What is the process for departments to submit COVID-19 costs for reimbursement?

A. This depends on whether the department received Disaster Emergency Fund allocations based on Executive Order for COVID-19 or not.

  1. Expenditures Under Governor's Executive Order:

    Departments receiving specific Disaster Emergency Fund allocations based on the Executive Order for COVID-19 are CDPHE, DOLA, CDLE, and DPA. For all other State agencies, skip to #2 below.

    Sub-recipient activity for these departments will be recorded in the Disaster Emergency Fund, Fund 2600. Departments need to identify a primary point of contact (POC) for this activity and communicate that to the CDPS Controller (dean.mcdaniel@state.co.us). These departments will work with DHSEM in the manner identified in the distributed one-pager for sub-recipient departments, unless otherwise directed through exchange with CDPS leadership.

  2. Expenditures Outside Governor's Executive Order:

    Other state departments incurring COVID-related expenditures will record those expenditures in their own operating budgets, using their department coding strings, and ensuring unique identification of the costs as COVID-19 response. Full supporting documentation is required for all expenditures and must be thorough with detailed explanations of the work performed and why it was necessary. DHSEM recommends recording expenditures using the COVID-19 expenditure reporting template (provided as an Excel spreadsheet). Please also refer to the document, "Public Assistance Supporting Documentation Required" for a summary of documentation requirements by expense type.

    The department may submit weekly expenditures with supporting documentation to DHSEM for review to determine if the expenditures would meet FEMA eligibility requirements for reimbursement. Send weekly submissions to DHSEM via email at: cdps_seocfinance@state.co.us. Submissions may later be expanded to monthly if the spending patterns make this feasible.

    Based upon DHSEM review and availability of FEMA funds, the department may be able to enter into an interagency agreement (IAA) with DHSEM for submission of these costs to FEMA through a grant-style arrangement. Any expenditures submitted for FEMA reimbursement in this IAA scenario will be managed in the State's EMGrants Pro system (CO.EMGrants.com). EMGrants is the State's official system for managing Public Assistance grants and providing reimbursement to sub-recipients. Instruction and training on the use and functionality of CO.EMGrants.com will be provided to agencies as needed. This scenario continues to evolve and is subject to change.

    The guidance provided in this document is in addition to the official Federal guidelines for FEMA Public Assistance reimbursement. For more information on this grant program, refer to the FEMA Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG) and FEMA's website: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus.

    See:

Q. What is the process to send weekly expenditures to DHSEM?

A. In accordance with guidance included in this Q&A, if you believe your agency has incurred costs that may be eligible for FEMA Public Assistance, please submit weekly expenditures with supporting documentation to cdps_seocfinance@state.co.us.

Lauren Leavitt lauren.leavitt@state.co.us will be reviewing these weekly submissions to determine if they meet FEMA Public Assistance eligibility requirements, and to provide feedback on additional documentation that will be required for reimbursement. It's important that agencies identify Public Assistance-eligible expenses as soon as possible so DHSEM can discuss FEMA's documentation requirements. Lauren Leavitt may raise many questions during her reviews and some expenses will not be Public Assistance-eligible. The State's goal is to maximize FEMA reimbursement for State agencies.

FEMA Guidance

Q. How will the current situation affect the printing of warrants for vendors and employees and the delivery of mail?

A. Integrated Document Solutions (IDS) is committed to continue printing warrants and delivering mail per the existing schedules. At this time, printing and mailing will continue as usual. It is recommended that each agency reach out to their employees who have manual checks and have those employees verify their home addresses and update CPPS in the event that we need to send payroll check directly to employees.

Q. Is there a resource to help purchasing staff quickly buy the goods and services most needed during the COVID-19 emergency?

A. 3/30/2020: In an additional effort to expedite the process, the Chief Procurement Officer has granted blanket approval for agencies/IHEs to purchase off of certain cooperatives. See this SPCO COVID-19 Procurement Resources document for more information. The SPCO has compiled information from existing state price agreements, national cooperative procurement organizations, and various other COVID-19 related procurement resources. This document will be updated regularly.

Q. What if I need to complete an emergency purchase?

A. Emergency purchases require approval by the agency/IHE procurement official as per CRS §24-103-206. Justification can be tied to the Governor's declaration of emergency or executive order as appropriate. Emergency procurements shall be limited to supplies, services, or construction items in such quantities as are necessary to meet the emergency. Per Fiscal Rule 3-1, section 11, Purchasing Emergencies also require the agency to contact the State Purchasing and Contracts office in writing as soon as possible after the emergency to provide information regarding the circumstances, goods/services purchased and dollar amount.

Q. How can our agency conduct public bid openings in the event that we are working from home?

A. During this pandemic, where employees are working from home, bid openings may be conducted over conference call or live video.

Q. If my agency is working remotely and a hard copy of a formal bid/proposal is due, what are my options; is electronic submission of proposals an alternative?

A. If your agency is working remotely and a hard copy of a formal bid/proposal is due, you should consider using an electronic submission system. Electronic submission systems must meet sealed bid requirements in the Procurement Code and Rules. Email is allowable for an informal solicitation (documented quote) response submittal because there is no sealed bid requirement. Current approved options for electronic submission of formal solicitations include Box.com and Rocky Mountain BidNet. These options do not waive the requirement to post solicitations on Vendor Self Service. Contact Chris Frenz at CDHS chris.frenz@state.co.us or Noah Kaplan at OIT noah.kaplan@state.co.us with questions regarding Box.com. Contact Brian Swift at SPCO brian.swift@state.co.us with questions regarding Rocky Mountain BidNet. Contact Sherri Maxwell Sherri.Maxwell@state.co.us at SPCO if you would like to discuss other possible methods of electronic proposal submission.

Q. How would my agency conduct solicitation evaluations if my agency is working remotely?

A. For formal solicitation evaluation committee meetings, consider using Google Hangouts or your agency-specific webinar tools (e.g., Zoom, video conferencing, etc). For documented quotes, formal evaluation is not required or recommended; therefore phone/email is recommended to share information.

Q. Will an employee be reimbursed for non-refundable travel costs, changes in reservations, late charges, and related fees?

A. Yes, the State will reimburse the employee for these charges provided the employee paid for these expenses and the expenses were incurred in furtherance of State business.

Q. An employee is working from home and needs to come into the office. Is the mileage from the employee's home to the office reimbursable?

A. The employee's mileage from the employee's home to the office is considered commuting and is not reimbursable. In this situation, an employee's home is considered a temporary work location because the working from home is expected to last for one year or less. The employee's tax home (office) does not change. IRS Publication 463 Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses.

Q. An employee has been assigned a state vehicle to accomplish their job responsibilities. The employee normally drives the employee's personal vehicle to the employee's work location and drives to various locations to accomplish the employee's job responsibilities. With working from home, the employee brings the State assigned vehicle to the employee's home and then drives that vehicle to various locations to accomplish the employee's job responsibilities. In this situation, the employee has the vehicle at home for more than one day a month. Will this situation result in imputed income to the employee?

A. The employee's transportation from home to various work locations is required to accomplish the employee's job responsibilities and is not considered commuting because the employee does not have a main or regular place of work. The IRS maximum of commuting use of an employer's vehicle for no more than one day per month does not apply in this situation. The employee will not have imputed income for use of the State assigned vehicle. IRS Publication 463 Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses, and IRS Publication 5137 Fringe Benefit Guide, Office of Federal State, and Local Governments.

Q. An employee provides mission critical services for the State's response to COVID-19. The employee stays in a hotel and does not return home due to possible infection. The State pays for the hotel. Does this result in imputed income to the employee?

A. No, there would not be imputed income to the employee provided that the State requires the employee to stay at the hotel. Lodging is required as a condition of employment if the employer requires the employee to live in the hotel to be able to perform the job duties. The employee must be required to accept lodging. In this situation. If the employer provides meals as a condition of employment, the cost of the meals also would not be imputed income. IRS Publication 5137 Fringe Benefit Guide, Office of Federal State, and Local Governments.

Resources

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