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 are essentially identical to the federal laws regarding overtime, meaning there are some computer and IT employees who are exempt from overtime pay. However, this is not the case for all professionals in the industry. Computer professionals earning at least $455* ($684 as of 1/1/2020) per week on a salary basis or $27.63 per hour are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements only if all requirements are met. The right to pay computer employees on an hourly basis with this exemption is unique to this type of work under the law.

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, 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, computer programmer, software engineer, or other similar career in the computer field with their main duty consisting of one or more of the following, according to the DOL.

  • 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.

* The Department of Labor under the Obama Administration increased this salary amount to $913 per week effective 12/1/2016; however, this increase was blocked by a court ruling. Instead, the Trump Administration only increased the salary amount to $684 effective 1/1/2020. Please see this page for the latest updates. .

If you’re a computer or IT employee living in Colorado, it’s important to ensure that you’re classified properly and are aware of your rights to receive or not 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. 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.