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Colorado Department of Labor Minimum Wage Order Proposed Rules for 2020

The Colorado Department of Labor has been busy issuing proposed rules regarding its annual Minimum Wage Order (MWO). These rules will apply to most employers, although they do not apply to public entities. These proposals, which are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2020, make significant and far-reaching changes to most parts of Colorado’s compensation laws and significantly differ from current federal law. Some examples of these proposed changes include:

  • Establishing a new minimum salary-basis threshold level for exempt employees that is almost $7,000 higher than the federal Department of Labor’s new salary-basis threshold, which means that more employees will be eligible for overtime. Additionally, these levels are scheduled to have near-yearly increases.
  • Establishing different duty-basis tests than federal law. This means that while an employee may qualify as exempt (i.e., not entitled to overtime) under federal law, the employee could be required to receive overtime under state law.
  • Modifying the federal requirements with respect to compensating employees for travel and changing the state’s long-standing rules regarding offsets employers can make to an employee’s compensation.
  • And there are many, many more changes proposed.

There will be a public hearing on December 16, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss the proposed rules, with all public comments due by December 31, 2019. After that, these rules may become effective.

What does that mean for your organization? In short, a number of changes may need to be made to most every employer’s compensation practices. And, unfortunately, they all need to be made by March 1, 2020. To ensure that every employer is ready to undertake these changes, the Western Colorado Human Resources Association and Bechtel Santo & Severn will conduct a seminar on December 11, 2019 at the Bookcliff Country Club. The talk will start at 3:30 p.m. (with registration open at 3:15) and go until 4:45 p.m.  Register at www.wchra.org/event-3644049.

Posted with permission from Michael Santo, partner at Bechtel Santo & Severn in Grand Junction. For updates, subscribe to the firm’s Employer’s Advisory newsletter.


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