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Computer and IT Employees under the Colorado Overtime Laws

Many employers believe that all computer employees can be exempt from overtime.  This is not the case, and with IT workers, the details matter. Colorado state overtime laws have been updated as of March 16, 2020 and new COMPS order must be applied to determine which computer and IT employees are exempt from overtime pay and which are non-exempt.

There is not a blanket rule regarding Colorado overtime pay for all professionals in the industry. First, a computer employee must be paid a salary, or hourly compensation, that meets the minimum legal requirements, and second, the employee must meet specific qualifications, duties and responsibilities as described by the law. Employees are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements only if all requirements are met. 

Pay: In order to be exempt from overtime pay, computer professionals working in Colorado must earn at least $684 per week on a salary basis or $27.63 per hour in 2020. The right to pay computer employees on an hourly basis with this exemption is unique to this type of work under the law. Both the minimum salary requirement and the hourly pay amount increase on January 1 of each year.

Duties and Qualifications: This computer employee exemption only applies to certain areas of work, which many Department of Labor (DOL) experts refer to as the hardware/software distinction. Generally speaking, if an employee’s job is to create, analyze, and test software, the employee is exempt from overtime pay. However, if the employee’s job is to fix or administer hardware, the employee is most likely non-exempt and therefore must be paid overtime for all hours worked over forty in a single workweek, or 12 in a single day, regardless of his or her weekly or hourly pay.

For the exemption to apply for a computer employee, the employee must work as a computer programmer, computer systems analyst, software engineer, or other similar career in the computer field.  According to the Colorado Department of Labor, the exemption covers an employee who:

(A) is a skilled worker employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer, or other similarly highly technical computer employee;

(B) who has knowledge of an advanced type, customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized formal or informal study; and

(C) spends a minimum of 50% of the workweek in any combination of the following duties:

  1. the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software, or system functional specifications
  2. the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing, or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications, or
  3. the design, documentation, testing, creation, or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems.

These duties requirements under Colorado labor law for computer employees to be exempt from overtime pay are similar, but move favorable to employees, than the requirements for exemption under federal law, which are:

  • The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications; and/or
  • The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications; and/or
  • The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; and/or
  • A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.

If you’re a computer or IT employee working in Colorado, it’s important to ensure that you’re classified properly and are aware of your rights to receive overtime pay.

Because hours are often inconsistent within the industry, it can be easy to go over the forty hours allotted in one work week, or the daily overtime threshold of 12 hours per day under Colorado labor law.

If you have any doubts regarding your entitlement to overtime pay, contact the overtime pay experts at The Lore Law Firm for a free and confidential review. Submit your information using our convenient Case Evaluation form for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL review of your circumstances, because time is money.