Eligible employees can receive up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave under CU’s private FAMLI plan. 

CU’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI) program will provide all eligible employees a portion of their weekly salary for up to 12 weeks of leave to care for themselves or a family member, with an additional four weeks leave for complications during pregnancy or childbirth.

FAMLI aims to ensure that Coloradoans don’t have to choose between earning a paycheck or caring for themselves or their families in a time of need. It can be used by all employees who reside in Colorado, including faculty, staff, student employees, graduate medical education residents and graduate students on appointment.

FAMLI works with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as well as CU’s Parental Leave policies. A leave team has been established to assist employees navigate all leave programs for which they are eligible (including other state leave programs).

Learn about FAMLI, FML and Parental Leave and apply 

Employees can now apply for, track and manage their leave using the self-service portal.

Watch on-demand courses 

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Employee Leave Self-Service Course - Click here to access

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CU FAMLI Leave on-demand course. Click to watch course.


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Parental Leave

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Family Medical Leave (FML)

FAMLI program FAQs


What is FAMLI?

Colorado voters passed Proposition 118 in November 2020, approving the creation of the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program. It passed with 57.75% of voters supporting the initiative.

  • This program provides Colorado workers with a portion of their weekly salary for up to 12 weeks per year to care for themselves or their families, with an additional four weeks leave for pregnancy or childbirth complications. 
  • Both the employer and the employee fund the program. Premiums are set to 0.9% of the employee’s wages, with 0.45% of the premium paid by the employer and 0.45% of the premium paid by the employee. 

Why does CU have a private FAMLI program?

State law allows employers to offer a self-funded paid family leave program with benefits that meet or exceed the state’s FAMLI program, instead of participating in the state insurance program. CU submitted a private plan proposal, which was reviewed and approved by the state of Colorado in 2023.

CU’s self-funded, self-administered plan will allow the university to integrate and combine FAMLI leave with all of CU’s leave programs. Because FAMLI coverage only replaces a percentage of an employee’s wages, employees will have the option to use paid sick leave, vacation leave and other types of leave or insurance coverage to make up the difference. 

Like the state program, CU’s FAMLI plan will be funded with premiumsPremiumThe amount paid to have and administer the benefit split equally between CU and its employees. The program is funded by both the employer and the employee. Premiums are set to 0.9% of the employee's wage, with 0.45% of the premium paid by the employer and 0.45% of the premium paid by the employee.

See the CU FAMLI Private Plan Notice for additional details.


Who is eligible to apply for CU FAMLI Leave?

FAMLI leave can be used by all employees who reside in Colorado, including faculty, staff, student employees, graduate medical education residents and graduate students on appointment.

Employees are eligible for CU FAMLI payments on day one of employment. Employees receive job protection through CU FAMLI after 180 days of employment.

Who is subject to the .45% employee premium deduction?

All employees living in Colorado who earn wages through CU’s payroll will continue to see an aftertax deduction in their paychecks.

  • Employees living in Colorado who earn wages through CU’s payroll will see an after-tax deduction in each paycheck.
  • CU Graduate Medical Education (GME) residents/fellows are considered employees and will be subject to the premium.
  • Individuals in job codes 3201-3209 (on unique stipends and fellowships) are not considered CU employees and are not subject to the premium and may not use FAMLI leave.

Can I opt out?

No. Individual employees in Colorado may not opt out of participating in FAMLI.

I live and work outside of Colorado. Can I use FAMLI leave?

FAMLI leave only applies to in-state employees. Out-of-state employees do not pay the premium deduction and must use their state’s family medical leave policies, if applicable.

What happens if I never use FAMLI leave? Do I get my contributions back?

If you leave or retire from the University of Colorado and do not use any of your available FAMLI leave, you will not be entitled to receive any monetary benefits from your previous contributions to CU FAMLI. 

Using FAMLI leave

How can I apply for CU FAMLI leave?

Employees can apply for CU FAMLI Leave through the employee portal:

  1. Login to my.cu.edu.
  2. Select Forms the CU Resources Home dropdown menu.
  3. Select the Collaborative HR Services tile.
  4. Select the CU Leave Benefits tile.
  5. Select the Leave Self-Service tile.

How much do CU FAMLI leave benefits pay?

The amount of CU FAMLI leave payments are based on weekly wages. Employees can calculate their estimated benefits on the Benefits Calculator.

Who qualifies as a family member for CU FAMLI leave purposes?

Family members include a covered individual’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or someone with whom they have a significant personal bond.

Understanding that families are not always traditional, CU will determine familial relationships by looking to the totality of the circumstances, including but not limited to: 

  • Shared financial responsibilities
  • Emergency contact designations
  • Expectation of care created by the relationship
  • Cohabitation and geographical proximity

Under what circumstances can I use CU FAMLI?

Employees may be eligible for CU FAMLI benefits for several reasons, which include:

  • caring for a child as the result of a birth, adoption or foster care placement
  • caring for a family member with a serious health condition
  • caring for your own serious health condition
  • making arrangements for a family member’s military deployment
  • to obtain safe housing, care, or legal assistance in response to intimate partner violence, stalking, sexual assault, or sexual abuse

How often can I use CU FAMLI?

Employees are allowed 12 weeks of partial wage replacement through CU FAMLI per 12-month period

How does CU FAMLI work with other leave programs?

CU FAMLI may either run concurrently or in conjunction with other leave programs:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA):  This federal program provides job protection for 12 weeks per 12-month period. FMLA will run concurrently with FAMLI when the need for leave meets the FMLA requirements. 
  • CU Parental Leave and Paid Parental Leave:  CU Parental Leave runs concurrently with FAMLI and FMLA. 
  • Short-Term Disability: This plan offers compensation for employees on short-term disability leave. If enrolled in short-term disability, it will run concurrently with FAMLI and FMLA.
  • Vacation and Sick Leave: Accrued through employment, this leave can be used in conjunction with FAMLI, FMLA and CU Parental Leave as the employee desires.

How do benefit premiums work while I am on CU FAMLI leave?

Employee benefit premiums will be collected in the same way as if actively at work (i.e., through payroll deductions). 

If an employee is not using any supplemental leave during CU FAMLI such as vacation leave, sick leave, or paid parental leave and is only receiving FAMLI payments, payroll deductions will continue and will be deducted from CU FAMLI payments. Employees may choose to discontinue payroll deductions and make alternative arrangements to pay the premiums. 

If no alternative arrangements are made, any unpaid premiums will be held in arrears and deducted from the employee's pay after their leave has ended.

How do retirement contributions work while I am on CU FAMLI leave?

FAMLI payments are exempt from all retirement plan contributions, mandatory and voluntary. Any paid parental leave, sick and vacation leave used to supplement FAMLI will be subject to normal retirement contributions.

Do I have to give the University of Colorado notice of my leave under Colorado FAMLI?

Yes, employees must notify their supervisor and the Employee Services Leave Team at least 30 days prior to the start of their leave or as soon as possible if 30 days advance notice is not possible. Requests should be submitted through the application in your employee portal. 

If I flex my schedule to cover my work/scheduled shifts, should I use FAMLI?

No. FAMLI should only be used if the employee is recording time off. Often, flexing a schedule keeps the total hours worked by the employee the same, and no sick or vacation leave is recorded.

Flex time is an agreement between the employee and supervisor and is subject to the business needs of the department.

How do my personal accruals, such as sick and vacation leave, work during FAMLI leave?

During periods of FAMLI leave, an employee will continue to accrue personal leave at their normal accrual rate.

FAMLI Supplemental Leave/FAMLI Pay

Can I work to supplement the hours FAMLI does not cover?

No. FAMLI pays a portion of the time an employee has already taken off. The only way an employee can supplement FAMLI payment is by using paid parental leave, sick leave, vacation leave, short-term disability or comp time that has already been earned.

For example, if you are working a half-day as a 1.0 FTE employee who works 8 hours per day, you would have four (4) hours of regular earnings and four (4) hours of FAMLI leave. The four (4) hours of regular earnings will be at full pay and the 4 hours of FAMLI leave will be at partial pay (which can be supplemented with sick, vacation, paid parental leave, etc.).

How does CU’s parental leave work with FAMLI?

For university staff, classified staff and 12-month faculty, CU provides 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave. These 26 weeks must be taken in the 12 months following the birth, adoption or foster care placement.

FAMLI and FMLA are required to run concurrently within the 26 weeks of parental leave. The 26 weeks can be taken consecutively, intermittently or on a reduced schedule within the 12-month period.

To receive pay while on parental leave, an employee can use paid parental leave, FAMLI partial wage replacement, sick, vacation, short-term disability and comp time already earned.

Due to each employee's differing leave balances and wages, all examples are illustrative and not guaranteed.


  • Weeks 1-6: FAMLI and Paid Parental Leave (PPL) used
  • Weeks 7-12: FAMLI and sick leave used
  • Weeks 13-20: Sick leave and vacation leave used
  • Weeks 21-26: Leave without pay

How does short-term disability work with FAMLI?

Short-term disability can be used in conjunction with FAMLI for time off related to the serious medical condition of the employee only. It cannot be used to care for others.

Short-term disability requires FAMLI to run concurrently and will require FAMLI to pay first while short-term disability will pay a portion of the remaining wages.


About FMLA

What does the Family and Medical Leave Act provide?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks (480 hours for a 100% employee) of unpaid job-protected leave per 12-month period. During an approved leave under the FMLA, an employee’s group health benefits will be maintained, and the employee is entitled to return to their same or an equivalent job at the end of their FMLA leave.

The FMLA also provides certain military family leave entitlements. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for specified reasons related to certain military deployments of their family members. Additionally, they may take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness. 

How can I receive pay while I am on Family Medical Leave (FML)?

Although FML is unpaid leave, the university requires employees to use their available sick, vacation, paid parental, or other types of paid leave to receive pay during their absence.

Employees may also choose to use CU FAMLI to receive pay during FML. 

When and how should I request FML?

If the leave is foreseeable, a request must be submitted to the Employee Services Leave Team at least 30 days before the leave is to begin. 

If the need for leave is urgent and not foreseeable, the request must be submitted as soon as practical and generally must comply with the department’s normal call-in procedures. 


Who can take FML?

Any employee who works for the university and meets the FMLA eligibility requirements can take FML.

For Classified Staff: The employee must have one year of total state service as of the date leave will begin. Additionally, classified employees are eligible for one additional week (40 hours for a 100% employee) of State family medical leave subsequent to the use of leave under the FMLA. 

For University Staff and Faculty: The employee must have been employed by the university for at least 12 months within the past seven years and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the most recent 12-month period prior to the start of leave. Part-time, FLSA-exempt employees with an FTE of 50% or greater are presumed to have met the 1,250 hours requirement, provided they have at least one year of university service. 

Does the time I take off for vacation, sick, leave or other PTO count toward the 1,250 hour requirement?

The 1,250 hours include only those hours actually worked for the university. Paid leave and unpaid leave, including FMLA leave, are not included in the calculation. 

Qualifying Conditions

When can an eligible employee use FML?

An eligible employee can use FML for:

  • the birth and care of a newborn child
  • the placement and care of a child for adoption/foster care
  • a serious health condition of an employee or their spouse, child or parent
  • care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness (26 weeks)
  • a qualifying exigency when a parent, child, spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner is called up for active military duty

How can I apply for FMLA leave?

To apply for FML, employees must complete an application form and provide all required documentation to Employee Services. Once the application is received, Employee Services will process the application, notify the employee of approval status and guide them through their entire leave.  

Online applications for FML are located in the employee portal.

  1. Login to employee portal.
  2. Select Forms from the CU Resources Home dropdown menu.
  3. Select the Collaborative HR Services tile.
  4. Select the CU Leave Benefits tile.
  5. Select the Apply for Leave Benefits tile.
  6. Complete the secure unity form.
  7. Employees will receive a confirmation email once their application has been successfully submitted.
  8. The Employee Services Leave Team will reach out to the employee to discuss eligibility and next steps.

Birth and Bonding

Are there any restrictions on when an employee can take leave for the birth or adoption of a child?

Leave to bond with a newborn child or for a newly placed adopted or foster child must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement. 

When can a parent take leave for a newborn?

All parents have the same right to take FML to bond with a newborn child. A birthing parent can also take FML for prenatal care, incapacity related to pregnancy, and for their own serious health condition following the birth of a child. A non-birthing parent can also use FML to care for their spouse who is incapacitated due to pregnancy or childbirth. 

Intermittent/Reduced Leave Schedule

Does an employee have to take leave all at once or can it be taken periodically or to reduce the employee's schedule?

When it is medically necessary, employees may take FML intermittently — taking leave in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason or on a reduced leave schedule — reducing the employee’s usual weekly or daily work schedule.

Can the university change an employee's job when the employee takes intermittent or reduced schedule leave?

Employees needing intermittent/reduced schedule leaveReduced Leave ScheduleA change in work schedule that is less than what the employee typically works, normally from full time to part time. for foreseeable medical treatments must work with the university to schedule the leave to minimize their department’s operations and business needs as much as possible. In such cases, the university may transfer the employee temporarily to an alternative job with equivalent pay and benefits that accommodate recurring periods of leave better than the employee’s regular job.

Serious Health Condition

What is a serious health condition?

The most common serious health conditions that qualify for FML are:

  • conditions requiring an overnight stay in a hospital or other medical care facility
  • conditions that incapacitate you or your family member (for example, unable to work or attend school) for more than three consecutive days and have ongoing medical treatment (either multiple appointments with a health care provider, or a single appointment and follow-up care such as prescription medication);
  • chronic conditions that cause occasional periods when you or your family member are incapacitated and require treatment by a health care provider at least twice a year; and
  • pregnancy (including prenatal medical appointments, incapacity due to morning sickness, and medically required bed rest).

Can I take FML for reasons related to domestic violence issues?

FML may be available to address certain health-related issues resulting from domestic violence. An eligible employee may take FML because of their own serious health condition or to care for a qualifying family member with a serious health condition that resulted from domestic violence. For example, an eligible employee may be able to take FMLA leave if they are hospitalized overnight or are receiving certain treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from domestic violence.

Mental Health

May I use FML for mental health reasons?

Yes. As long as an employee is eligible and provides the Employee Services Leave Team with proper documentation from a medical provider, they can use FML for mental health reasons.

May I use FML to care for my adult child related to mental health reasons?

Example: My daughter, who is 24 years old, was recently released from several days of inpatient treatment for a mental health condition. May I use FMLA leave for her care? She is unable to work or go to school and needs help with cooking, cleaning, shopping, and other daily activities.

It depends. Employees may use FML to care for a child who is 18 years of age or older if the child is incapable of self-care because of a disability as defined by the ADA, has a serious health condition as defined by the FMLA, and needs care because of the serious health condition.

A disability under the ADA is a mental or physical condition that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual, such as working. Major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia are a few examples of mental health conditions that may substantially limit one or more of an individual’s major life activities when active. A mental health condition requiring an overnight stay in a hospital or residential medical care facility would be a qualifying serious health condition under the FMLA.