Colorado laws for maternity and paternity leave provide unpaid job protection rights for many Centennial State residents. Unfortunately, only a few enjoy income support benefits for paid time off.

The amount of money you might get while bonding with your baby or recovering from childbirth could be thousands of dollars or nothing at all. The most frequent number is zero because you have to buy short-term disability before mom conceives.

The length of time that unpaid job protections last could also have two possible correct answers. Your qualifications for FMLA and the Family Care Act dictate whether you have twelve weeks or a duration determined by your employer.

Paid Parental Leave in Colorado

The average paid parental leave amount in Colorado is a wide-ranging figure with no correct answer. A minority of women will receive up to $5,000 per month while the majority must make do with nothing.

Hopefully, you found this article in time to take action. If not, a few lesser alternatives could help you make ends meet while away from the job.

Family Leave

Colorado does not have a paid family leave insurance program at the time of publication. Several bills have circulated through the state legislature, yet nothing has yet to pass and become law.

Without a government-mandated paid family leave, parents have to take matters into their own hands – as they have done for decades before.

Maternity Leave

Short-term disability insurance is the primary form of maternity leave pay in Colorado – yet most mothers miss out on the opportunity. The state does not have a mandatory program, and you must sign up for a private policy before becoming pregnant.

Those that act in time can enjoy 66% income replacement up to $5,000 per month during any of these possibility qualifying events.

  • Pregnancy disability (due to medical reasons) before birth
  • Recovery from childbirth
    • 6 weeks: vaginal delivery
    • 8 weeks: C-section
  • Postpartum medical complications that delay her return to work

Paternity Leave

Most fathers in Colorado do not receive paid paternity leave benefits. While men can and should sign up for short-term disability, they do not qualify to file a claim after mom delivers their baby. Dads continue to be physically able to work even though they might be unavailable.

Filing for unemployment compensation during paternity leave is also unlikely to work because dad may still have a job. At the same time, he is unavailable due to his baby bonding or caretaking duties.

  • You cannot collect unemployment during FMLA because you remain unemployed when protected by the regulation.
  • You must be available to accept any suitable job to qualify which is not the case while caring for a wife or newborn
  • The same rules apply to mothers on maternity leave

Length of Parental Leave in Colorado

The average length of unpaid job-protected parental leave in Colorado is another unquantifiable figure. Some people qualify for twelve weeks, while many others have no legal safeguards whatsoever and must rely on the mercy of their employer.

Your answer depends on whether two laws apply to your situation, and the policies that your employer publishes in their employee benefits handbook.


The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that pertains to many parents in Colorado. Those that meet the qualifications receive twelve weeks of unpaid legal job and health insurance safeguards, while those that fail must turn to their employee handbook.


Colorado parents must meet all the eligibility criteria under FMLA to enjoy legal rights. In addition to working for a covered employer (see below), they must be a qualifying employee.[1]

  • Has worked for the employer at least twelve months
  • Logged at least 1,250 hours in the preceding twelve months

The people meeting both of these rules who also work for covered employers can take twelve weeks of unpaid time off for any of these reasons.

  • The mother’s disabling medical condition
    • Pregnancy leave before the birth
    • Recovery from labor and delivery
  • Maternity leave for mom
    • Baby bonding time for infant, adoptive, or foster child
    • Care of infant born prematurely
  • Paternity leave for fathers
    • Care of sick wife on bed rest
    • Baby bonding time
    • Care of low birth weight baby

Under 50

Colorado parents who work for small businesses with fewer than fifty employees do not meet the FMLA criteria. FMLA rules apply based on the number of employees and other measures.

  • The private employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles
  • Other employers regardless of the number of workers
    • Local, state, and federal government agencies
    • Public or private elementary or secondary school

Therefore, each small business with less than fifty employees determines how long maternity leave lasts for its workers. They could offer zero weeks, and workers would have no legal recourse other than changing jobs.

Family Care Act

The Colorado Family Care Act (CFCA) boosts the average length of maternity leave by including more people who qualify for twelve weeks of unpaid job protections. The CFCA is a state regulation that expands the definition of an immediate family member under the federal FMLA.

Therefore, CFCA permits extended family members and individuals who co-reside in a committed relationship to take time off to care for a newborn, foster, or adopted child.[2]

Spouse X X
Child of any age X < 18
Domestic Partner X
Parents X X
Parents in-Law X
Siblings X
Grandparents X
Grandchildren X

Footnoted Sources:

[1] Department of Labor FMLA Rules

[2] Swipeclock CFCA rules