Update on the Colorado Minimum Wage Order 36

Update: The Rule was finalized on January 22, 2020, with some surprise changes. See our article here for the updated information as of that day.


A recent Employers Council Bulletin article states the Colorado Overtime Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order #36 will be finalized on January 10, 2020. The newest information says the anticipated adoption date is January 24, 2020. In addition, the anticipated effective date of the rule is March 1, 2020, except July 1, 2020, for new exempt salaries. The adoption date is later than expected, but the effective date is earlier than expected. Until the Rule is effective, Colorado Employers are under Amended Colorado Minimum Wage order 35.

A major change in the rule is that it applies to most industries, with the public sector being a major exception.  This means employers must pay employees overtime after 12 hours in a day or a 24-hour period.

In addition, breaks must be provided or the employee is entitled to a fee for breaks worked, unless there is an agreement between the employer and employee.  Employers Council recommends a written document and will be drafting a sample prior to the March 1, 2020 effective date.

Under the COMPS Rule, the minimum salary basis for exemption from overtime in 2020 will be $817.31 per week, starting July 1, 2020. If you have exempt employees who are not being paid at least $817.31 a week, your options include: (a) paying the exemption salary, or (b) instead paying hourly with overtime at any rate at or above the Colorado minimum wage, or (c) shifting hours among employees to minimize overtime hours.

COMPS also clarifies posting requirements. COMPS provides that (a) if an employer distributes a handbook or policies to employees, it should include a copy of the COMPS Order or poster, and (b) “[i]f the work site or other conditions make a physical posting impractical,” the employer can instead “provide a copy of the COMPS Order or poster to each employee.”

Second, to accommodate Colorado’s increasingly diverse workforce employers with employees who have limited English skills should post a Spanish poster the Division will provide — or the employer can ask the Division for a translation in any other language, which the Division will provide if feasible.

Finally, the Rule provides that an employer that fails to post as required is ineligible for any employee-specific credits or exemptions because if employees aren’t told of rules, those rules shouldn’t be used against them.

This Fact Sheet outlines the substantive changes to the law. Please call us with questions; Employers Council can help.