2020 seems like yesterday. For many of us, time has moved faster in the past 3 years than ever before.  And during this unprecedented period, employers with employees in Colorado who heard about the state’s proposed Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Act appropriately thought, “I’ll deal with that later when it goes into effect.” 2023 did seem so far away when the act was passed in November 2020, but in the blink of an eye, we’re here. The payroll premium is being assessed, and you need to know what this means for your business.  

Don’t worry. We know keeping up with the new regulations can be overwhelming and even daunting at times, which is why we are going to break down the five must know facts about Colorado’s FAMLI program and what resources are available to you through MJ Absence Management.

1. What is CO FAMLI? 

While maybe you’ve heard of the program, do you really know what it means, why it was created and what benefit it serves?  

As of January 1, 2023, employers with Colorado-based workers are being assessed a premium as part of the new state-provided program. The FAMLI program was created to ensure all Colorado workers have access to paid leave and, in some cases, job protection and benefits continuation when certain life events happen. There are four different types of leave under the FAMLI program: 

  • Medical Leave: For employees with a serious health condition, pregnancy, or safe-leave-related medical concerns. 
  • Family Leave: To attend to the serious health condition of a family member, or time to bond with a newborn or newly adopted or fostered child. 
  • Safe Leave: For employees experiencing issues relating to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking. 
  • Military Leave: For employees who require a period of absence arising from a family member’s active-duty service or notice of an impending call or order to active duty in the armed forces. 

With FAMLI leave, eligible beneficiaries will have twelve weeks of paid benefits with an additional four weeks if related to pregnancy or childbirth complications.  

2. Does this affect you? 

Whether you’re a Colorado employer or a Colorado employee, more likely than not, the short answer is yes. For most employers with ten or more Colorado-based employees, participation is mandatory. And even if your company is not based in Colorado, you are still impacted if you have more than ten employees that reside in the state, and so are your employees there! 

Even if you have fewer than 10 Colorado-based employees, those employees are still being assessed their part of the payroll premium and could come to you with questions. 

3. When does it start, and do I really have to comply? 

It already has! As of January 1, 2023, employers with more than ten Colorado-based employees have started being assessed a payroll premium. Contributions have begun by both employees and employers, and benefits will start January 1, 2024.  

Nearly every employer is required to comply with the FAMLI Act’s requirements, but you do have options—employers can decide to participate in the state program or provide a private plan with state approval. Employers initially have until October 31, 2023, to opt-out of the program by demonstrating they are providing a private plan to their employees with equal or greater benefits as the FAMLI plan. Private plan applications received after this date will still be considered, but you may not be eligible for a refund of your 2023 premiums paid.  

4. But wait, I already provide Short-Term Disability (STD) benefits. Do I have to comply with FAMLI? 

Yes! STD benefits are not interchangeable with FAMLI benefits. You must comply with the FAMLI program, and you can offer STD benefits in addition. STD adds another safety net for employees when the maximum FAMLI weekly benefit is reached, when the FAMLI benefits have been exhausted, or during the Long-Term Disability waiting period. 

5. What is the financial impact of the CO FAMLI program, and how do I know if a private plan is better for my business? 

Okay, so by now, you probably get it. If you’re a Colorado employer or have workers based in Colorado, you’re affected by Colorado FAMLI. You’re probably now trying to determine how much is this going to cost, and which option is right for your organization? And you’re not alone. We’re here to help you navigate Colorado FAMLI. MJ Absence Management is offering a proprietary analysis for our clients that will help you understand the financial impact of FAMLI to your organization. This analysis is available to you now. From here, you can make an informed decision of what approach is best for your employees and your business, whether that be the state or private plan. If our financial analysis determines the private plan is better for your business, we can then help with the design and implementation of the plan as well as the private plan approval process

So, while 2023 once seemed so far into the future, it’s here, and so is the Colorado FAMLI program. The deadline for private plan applications (October 31, 2023), will be here before you know it. A private plan may have a better return on your bottom line and offer a better experience for your employees. Request your custom financial analysis to determine if a private plan is better for your organization.  



Still have more questions? Contact us today and visit our landing page where we further break down CO FAMLI.