The new year will bring significant changes to Colorado’s wage and hours laws under new rules proposed by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). The Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order (COMPS Order) #36 is “the source of critical Colorado wage rights and responsibilities beyond those provided by federal law,” according to CDLE and will affect almost every worker in the state. The final version of these new rules is scheduled to be published on January 10, 2020, and would become effective on March 1, 2020.
If you work in Colorado, here is what you need to know about the COMPS order and how it will impact your rights in the new year:
More Employees Covered by Minimum Wage Requirements
Currently, whether a worker is protected under Colorado’s wage and hours provisions depends not only on the worker’s job responsibilities but also on the industry in which he or she is employed. Only four classes of workers – retail and service, commercial support, food and beverage, and health and medical – are covered by the state’s minimum wage and break time protections.
Under the new order, wage and hours protections presumptively cover all Colorado employees unless specifically excluded. Prominent jobs and professions excluded from coverage include lawyers, doctors, and agricultural workers.
Higher Overtime Pay Threshold
As is the case under federal law, a Colorado employee will be exempt from the state’s overtime pay requirements if his or her job involves certain “executive, administrative or professional” duties, and his or her salary is over a designated threshold. As of January 1, 2020, the new federal overtime pay cap is $35,568 per year – or $679 per week. Anyone making more than that is not entitled to overtime pay.
However, states are free to enact higher thresholds, which is precisely what Colorado is doing through the COMPS order. Though Colorado currently does not have its own overtime pay threshold and thus defaults to the federal standard, any employee making less than $42,500 per year will be entitled to overtime pay under the new rule until 2021. After that, the threshold will rise by $3,000 every year until 2026, when it will reach $57,500. After 2026, the consumer price index will dictate any changes in the standard.
No Rest Break = More Pay
The proposed rule states that “to the extent practical,” employers must provide rest periods in the middle of each four-hour work period, because “a rest period at the start or end of a shift fails to serve its purpose: ‘rest.’” If an employer does not allow an employee to take a 10-minute paid rest period, the employee is owed 10 minutes’ pay, because “when an employer must provide 10 minutes’ paid rest, but instead receives 10 minutes’ work, the employee has worked 10 extra minutes without 10 extra minutes’ pay.”
Colorado Workers: Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Wage, Hour, and Overtime Pay Concerns.
If you work in Colorado and have questions about the new wage and hour rules or have concerns about your rights, meeting with an experienced wage and overtime pay attorney is the best way to understand whether you are being paid what you are owed under state and federal law. Together, we can ensure that you receive every dollar you deserve for every hour you work.