No, it’s not another pandemic, but these changes will still cost small business owners. Both Colorado and Oregon have expanded leave obligations for employers in the event of a public health emergency (PHE), which now can include RSV, the flu and other respiratory illnesses. The Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act requires employers to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave when a PHE exists and employees can access PHE leave if they’re self-isolating due to a communicable illness; seeking treatment for same; susceptible to or at risk of such an illness; or caring for a child whose school or childcare is no available because of the PHE. Early last month, Governor Jared Polis amended the PHE to make it also applicable in cases of RSV, influenza (the flu) or “other respiratory illnesses”, which remains undefined! Consequently, all employees in the Centennial State must be allowed to utilize PHE leave for any of these other “respiratory illnesses”. Similarly, in Oregon, a January 2022 change to the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) expanded the definition of “sick child leave” to include providing home care in the event a child’s school is closed doe to a PHE. In addition, that amendment also the sick child leave threshold to an employee after just 30 days of employment, down from the prior 180 days. Further, it requires that a PHE proclamation to protect public health must be issued by the governor in order for the expanded coverage to kick in. Outgoing Governor Kate Brown issued just such a proclamation on November 14 and it remains in effect until March 6.