COVID-19 & Colorado’s Stance on Returning to Work

By July 15, 2020August 7th, 2020COVID-19

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment created a fact sheet for individuals on returning to work and collecting unemployment benefits. The state notes that individuals’ claims will be audited if they receive unemployment benefits, their employers reopen for business, and they subsequently refuse to return to work. Individuals will be subject to overpayments and/or fraud reviews if the state determines that they did not have a valid cause for refusing to return to work.

Individuals may be eligible for benefits after a work refusal due to the following situations:

  • If you are a vulnerable individual and your work requires in person work near others
  • If you care for a dependent who is a vulnerable person
  • If you are not able to work remotely and you have childcare issues
  • If the conditions at the work environment clearly do not conform to the ‘Safer at Home’ guidance and pose a health concern

Individuals might not be eligible for benefits after a work refusal due to the following situations:

  • You are not able to demonstrate exemptions under the ‘Safer at Home‘ guidance mentioned above
  • You are not able to work remotely but your employer provides you with the means to do so
  • If you simply express unfounded and non-specific fear of exposure to COVID-19 with no connection to the work environment

Also, the state advises that individuals may be eligible to collect partial benefits if they are working under 32 hours perp week and earned less than the weekly benefit amount, which will not include the additional $600 payment from Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). Individuals must report hours worked and gross earnigns weekly when they file for benefits. All individuals must track all of their hours and earnings for each week, report gross earnings as it occurs, and report when they stop working for an employer.

Please visit for more information. This webpage will provide a fact sheet about reporting hours, as well as examples on how to track and report hours and earnings.


Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

Mike Parker

Author Mike Parker

Mike has 30 years of experience in unemployment cost control management, and has been with Thomas & Company for 25 years. He is the primary contact with state agencies building strong relationships, lobbying for opportunities that increase quality of service and efficiencies, and insuring compliance with state specific requirements. He works with the client service team, answering technical questions related to the unemployment insurance programs administered by the individual states and oversees the processes associated with wage audits and fraudulent claim inquiries. Mike is a member of the SIDES Operations Committee and currently sits on four Operations Committee subcommittees.

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