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Your Rights Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Colorado

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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 twelve hours in a workaday, twelve consecutive hours regardless of the workday or forty 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

Additional information on Colorado overtime law is available at https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/minimumwage. You can read more about federal overtime law at our page on overtime laws.

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

Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in Colorado is $8.31 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

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 $5.21. 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

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

Under Colorado law, non-exempt employees are entitled to a thirty minute meal break within the first five hours of work.

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. You can find the wage and hour complaint form here: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/complaint-forms.

The filing should include as much information and documentation as possible. This process can be completed with or without an attorney.

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.

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. You may wish to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, if possible. Yet if you are unable to find an attorney who will assist you, 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
633 17th Street, Suite 200
Denver, Colorado 80202-3611
Phone: (303) 318-8441
Toll Free: (888) 390-7936
Fax: (303) 318-8400
Email: cdle_labor_standards@state.co.us