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Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Colorado

Does Colorado have state overtime laws that are different from federal law?

Under Colorado law, employers must pay employees at a rate of one and one-half the employee's regular hourly wage for working more than 12 hours in a workaday, 12 consecutive hours regardless of the workday or 40 hours in a work week.

Some employees are exempt from the overtime requirement. Employees engaged in administrative, executive, professional, domestic, motor carrier and outside sales activities are exempt from the overtime requirement. Additionally, the following employees are exempt under Colorado law:

  • Salespeople, parts-people and mechanics working for automobile, truck or farm implement dealers
  • Commissioned salespeople in retail and service industries
  • Ski industry employees
  • Medical transportation employees
  • Companions
  • Casual babysitters
  • Property Managers
  • Elected Officials
  • Volunteers
  • Interns
  • Prisoners

 See additional information on Colorado overtime law or federal overtime law.

Does Colorado have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?

Effective January 1, 2019, the minimum wage in Colorado is $11.10 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The minimum wage will rise again on January 1, 2020.

Generally, employers cannot use other costs of employment to decrease the minimum wage required. Employers cannot decrease the minimum wage by the cost to provide and maintain uniforms. Employers, however, can use tips and gratuities to reduce the minimum wage required to $8.08. Up to $25 per week for lodging and a reasonable cost of meals can count towards the minimum wage.

The following employees may be paid at a rate below the minimum wage:

  • Unemancipated minors, under 18, may be paid at a lower rate per hour
  • Physically disabled employees

The minimum wage rate applies to employees in the following industries: retail and service, commercial support service, food and beverage, and health and medical industries. The following employees are not covered by the minimum wage requirement:

  • Public sector
  • Independent contractors
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale

Do any cities or counties in Colorado have a minimum wage that is different from state or federal law?

No. Colorado has law that stops any cities or counties in the state from passing their own minimum wage laws. This law is currently being challenged in court. For now, the state minimum still applies to all cities and counties.

Does Colorado have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?

Under Colorado law, non-exempt employees are entitled to a 30-minute meal break within the first five hours of work. Employees will also be compensated for a 10-minute rest period for every four hours worked.

How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in Colorado?

You can file a wage claim with the Colorado Division of Labor. This can be done online or printed and mailed.

The filing should include as much information and documentation as possible. This process can be completed with or without an attorney. The decision by the investigator can also be appealed.

What are my time deadlines?

If you have a wage/hour claim, do not delay in contacting the Division of Labor to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which wage claims must be filed. In order for the agency to act on your behalf, you must file within two years from the date that the claim arose. However, if your employer’s violation was willful, you have up to three years to file.

As you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, but it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim.

How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in Colorado?

Under Colorado law, employees can file a private lawsuit to recover unpaid wages plus attorney's fees and court costs.

State Labor Agency

Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics
633 17th Street, Suite 600
Denver, Colorado 80202-3611
Phone: (303) 318-8441
Toll Free: (888) 390-7936
Fax: (303) 318-8400
Email: cdle_labor_standards@state.co.us


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