Colorado recently took steps to increase the salary threshold for employees falling under the “white collar” exemptions. On January 22, 2020, the Colorado Department of Labor adopted the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order #36 (“COMPS Order”), with most of its provisions becoming effective on March 16, 2020. The new minimum salary thresholds for exemption from overtime began on July 1, 2020. The COMPS Order makes significant changes for both exempt and non-exempt employees, and further outlines critical Colorado wage rights and responsibilities. The COMPS Order replaces the Minimum Wage Orders previously issued by the Division and supplements the thresholds provided by federal law, under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the Order, whenever employers are subject to it, as well as to federal and/or local labor laws, the law providing the greatest protection to employees shall apply. Contrary to previous wage orders, under the COMPS Order virtually all private employers, in all industries, will be subject to Colorado’s minimum wage, overtime and working condition rules, unless they fall into one of the specifically enumerated exceptions. The Order requires employers to track, record, and compensate all non-exempt employees for all “time worked”. The Order redefines “time worked” as all the time for which the employer requires or permits an employee:
To be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace (but not merely permitting an employee completely relieved from duty to arrive or remain on-premises) — including but not limited to, if such tasks take over one minute, putting on or removing required work clothes or gear (but not a uniform worn outside work as well), receiving or sharing work-related information, security or safety screening, remaining at the place of employment awaiting a decision on job assignment or when to begin work, performing clean-up or other duties “off the clock,” clocking or checking in or out, or waiting for any of the preceding. . . .COMPS Order Rule 1.9.1.
Under the Order, beginning July 1, 2020, the annualized salary required for an employee to be considered “exempt” is $35,568.00, with some exceptions for nonprofits and small businesses. After 2020, the salary threshold for exempt employees will rise every year on January 1st. The COMPS Order also imposes a wide array of additional requirements relating to a variety of issues, including meal and rest periods, employer-provided uniforms, permissible wage deductions, calculation of non-hourly pay for overtime, and posting and distribution requirements for ease of employee access. Employers have only one month to comply with all documentation and notices required by the Order, such as new posters, employee handbook inserts, acknowledgment forms, etc. Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (INFO)#1: Colorado Overtime & Minimum Pay Standards Order (COMPS Order) #36, which can be found on the Colorado Division of Labor’s website, summarizes key parts, interpretations of, and exemptions to, COMPS Order #36.
If you have any questions about the requirements of COMPS Order #36, or any employment or workers’ compensation-related question please contact us.