Wage and hour laws are the rules that dictate how employers are to treat their employees. They generally cover such issues as when employees can be expected to work and how they are to be compensated for their time. Employers in Colorado should become familiar with these laws so they do not violate them and face liability.
Minimum Wage in Colorado
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Colorado minimum wage is currently $8.31 for each hour worked. This is greater than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Employers must remain in compliance with both state and federal law, so they are required to pay the higher wage to all applicable employees.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Employers of tipped workers are only required to pay a wage of $5.29 per hour. The other $3.02 is generally paid through the tips the workers receive, which is known as a tip credit to the employer. In the event a worker does not meet the minimum wage with the inclusion of the tip credit, their employer becomes responsible for making up the difference. This rate is much higher than the federal minimum wage for tipped workers, which is $2.13. As with other wage laws, the law that provides the greatest advantage to employees is to be followed.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: Both state and federal law have exemptions to who is covered by these minimum wage laws. Administrative employees, executives, supervisors, outside salespeople and professionals are considered exempt under state and federal law. This can include salaried doctors, lawyers, and teachers. For a complete list of federal exemptions, refer to the U.S. Department of Labor website.
When are Raises Required: Neither state nor federal law have provisions regarding raises. They are usually dictated by agreement between employers and their employees.
Work Hours in Colorado
Colorado does not dictate how many hours employees can be expected to work each day or in a single workweek. Federal law does not address this issue either.
Paying Overtime: The state does have provisions on overtime. Any employee who works more than 40 hours per workweek, 12 hours per workday, or a consecutive 12-hour shift shall receive a rate of one and one-half times their regular pay, calculated in the way that results in the greatest amount of compensation. This is in contrast to the federal law, which only states that employees who work more than 40 hours per workweek should receive overtime at the same rate. Commission sales workers, ski industry employees and medical transportation workers are all exempt from the state law. Federal exemptions include executives, administrators, and outside sales employees.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Under state law, all employees are to be granted at least one paid 10-minute break period for every four hours they work. After five consecutive hours of work, employees are entitled to a 30-minute meal period, unpaid. There are no federal laws that cover these issues. However, all nursing employees must be allowed sufficient time to express milk or breastfeed within a year of the birth of a child. Otherwise, all these provisions are subject to agreement between an employer and its employees.
Paid Time-off and Sick Pay: Neither state nor federal law have any provisions in place regarding sick pay or other holiday pay. These issues are usually part of agreements reached between workers and their employers.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: No law currently exists in Colorado stipulating that employers must give any kind of notice to employees of pending termination. There are also no federal requirements governing this issue.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: Employees in Colorado are only covered under federal law in cases of plant closings or mass layoffs. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act states that businesses with 100 or more full-time employees must provide written notice to affected employees at least 60 days prior to any action. The notice must contain information about the plans, including whether it is temporary or permanent, as well as what date the layoffs will occur.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.