Colorado Wage Laws More Favorable to Workers, Comparatively
Overtime in Colorado may be paid differently compared to other states, but overtime pay in Colorado is actually more favorable to the workers. This is even more so since the new Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order went into effect on March 16, 2020.
The new order expands coverage of the minimum wage and overtime regulations to most industries, increases the minimum salary required for the most common exemptions, places greater limitations on exemptions from the overtime requirements, expands the definition of time worked, and clarifies prior ambiguous wage laws.
The most significant 2020 changes to Colorado’s overtime laws provide greater overtime pay rights to 1) salaried administrative employees who do not directly serve an executive, 2) salaried executive or supervisory employees who do not spend at least 50% of their time performing supervisory duties, and 3) truck drivers who never leave the state.
Unchanged are the longstanding Colorado state wage laws that provide workers are entitled to daily overtime pay for any hours worked over 12 per day or over 12 consecutive hours, along with hours worked over 40 each week according to federal standard. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour; however, the state minimum wage for Colorado is $12.00 per hour (as of January 1, 2020).
In simpler terms, employees should be paid time and one-half of the regular pay rate for any work in excess of:
- 40 hours per workweek
- 12 hours in one workday
- 12 consecutive hours, regardless of whether or not the work period overlaps into a second day
The employer is required pay the employee under whatever method would give the greatest payment of wages. For example, if an employee works three 13-hour days in a week, totaling 39 hours, the employee does not trigger overtime under the first method because they have not met 40 hours in one workweek. However, because the employee worked over 12 hours per day, he or she is entitled to three hours of overtime per that specific method.
While Colorado workers receive more favorable overtime pay laws, there are still certain workers who are exempt from the Colorado wage and hour law, meaning their employer is not required to pay them minimum wage or overtime. Typically, the exemptions require an employee to be salaried but each exemption has its own set of requirements.
The following are exempt from both overtime pay requirements and minimum wage if all requirements are met: administrative employees, professional employees, executives, computer professionals earning at least $27.63 per hours (adjusted for inflation after 2020), and outside sales people who spend at least 80 percent of the workweek engaged in activities directly related to their own outside sales. The following are exempt from only overtime pay requirements but not minimum wage requirements: employees of farm implement retail dealers, salespeople employed by trailer, aircraft, or boat retail dealers, commission salespeople receiving at least 50% of their annual dollar volume from commission, and ski industry employees.
While Colorado offers many favorable benefits to employees, Colorado has had its fair share of pay violations. If you feel you are not receiving the correct minimum or overtime pay in Colorado, it’s important to contact a lawyer experienced in overtime pay law claims in order to get the pay you deserve. Claims under the Colorado Wage Order may be brought to recover back pay for up to 6 years prior to the filing of the claim.