CDLE Proposes Wage Protection Act Rules and $8.23 Minimum Wage for 2015

Last week, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) issued proposed rules to implement the Wage Protection Act and a draft of Minimum Wage Order 31, which would raise the minimum wage to $8.23 per hour for most workers and $5.21 per hour for tipped employees beginning January 1, 2015.

The Wage Protection Act gives the CDLE authority to adjudicate wage claims of $7,500 or less brought by current and former employees of private employers in the state. The law does not apply to public-sector employers. Employees may begin using this new administrative procedure for disputes over wages earned on or after January 1, 2015. Employees are not required to use this procedure, and can still bring their wage claims directly to court, if they wish.

Only employees denied proper wage payment or their representatives can file complaints. The CDLE will notify employers of complaints received, and employers will have 14 days to respond. The CDLE will make its initial determination based on information gathered following submission of the complaint within 90 days. The CDLE will issue either a notice of dismissal or a citation and notice of assessment based on its determination. If an employer pays all wages owed within 14 days of the citation and notice of assessment, the CDLE may waive or reduce any fines and reduce penalties by up to 50 percent. Either party may request an appeal hearing within 35 days of the CDLE’s determination, and further appeal is available to district court. Unfortunately, the proposed rules do not go into detail on the hearing process.

The CDLE has scheduled a public hearing on both the proposed Wage Protection Act Rules and the new wage order for November 4, 2014, at 2 p.m. at the Colorado Division of Labor, 633 17th Street, Second Floor, Suite 200, Denver, CO 80202. Comments may also be mailed, faxed, or emailed. Click here for details on comment submission.

MSEC will attend the hearing, and we will deliver a special briefing session for our members on the details of the Wage Protection Act’s proposed rules in the near future.