Update on the Proposed Colorado Overtime & Minimum Pay Standards

On Monday, December 16, 2019, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) held a public hearing on the proposed Colorado Overtime & Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order 36, 7 CCR 1103-1 (2020). The CDLE anticipates releasing a final version of the order on January 10, 2020. The changes, however, will not go into effect until March 1, 2020.

In its current version, COMPS Order 36 would, among other things:

  • Cover all private employers in all industries, rather than limiting coverage to the four industries covered in the current Colorado Minimum Wage Order (public sector employers are still exempted).
  • Require employers to permit a compensated 10-minute rest period for every four hours of work, or major fractions thereof, for all employees, according to the following schedule:
  • Treat the failure to provide a paid, 10-minute rest period as a failure to pay 10 minutes of wages at the employee’s regular rate.
  • Require employers to pay overtime after 12 hours in a day.
  • Require exempt employees to be paid $42,500 per year beginning in July of 2020. That rate would increase according to the following schedule:
    • January 1, 2022 -$875.00 per week ($45,500 per year)
    • January 1, 2023 -$932.69 per week ($48,500 per year)
    • January 1, 2024 -$990.38 per week ($51,500 per year)
    • January 1, 2025 -$1048.08 per week ($54,500 per year)
    • January 1, 2026 -$1,105.77 per week ($57,500 per year)
    • January 1, 2027 -2026 salary adjusted by the same CPI as the Colorado Minimum Wage

The public hearing was attended by 150 or more people, both representing employee and employer interests.

Employee- and union-side groups that spoke at the hearing were generally in favor of the rule but expressed two significant areas of concern. Several commenters requested that the CDLE remove the proposed exemption for agricultural workers. Also, these commenters asked the CDLE to shorten the period for increases in the salary basis from six years to four years.

Employer-side groups did not express outright opposition to the proposed changes but did request additional clarity in areas where the proposed order appears to diverge from the standards set out in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Some groups representing particular industries, including representatives of outdoor education camps,  ski industry, and home health employers, asked for specific exemptions due to unique issues present in their industry.  Employer-side groups also requested that the CDLE be less Denver-centric in setting its salary numbers, explaining that the cost of living is far lower in other parts of the state and that the salary basis test of $42,500 is unnaturally high.

Employers Council staff, Sean Reed and Lorrie Ray were present at the hearing.  Ms. Ray spoke at the hearing and submitted written comments.

Currently, there are no similar rules being proposed in Utah or Arizona.