Colorado Issues New Wage Order 36

Colorado has issued an update to their Wage Order to be effective on March 16, 2020. Wage orders establish standards in relation to wages, hours, and working conditions. The new wage order clarified break rules and made an important update to minimum salary thresholds for the state.

As you may be aware, the Federal government recently made an update to the minimum salary threshold, changing it from $23,660 to $35,568 annually. Many states have since changed or considered changing their own new salary thresholds, and Colorado is one of them. The plan is to increase the threshold over time through 2027 based on the following increments:

Effective Date                   Weekly Overtime-Exempt Salary (& Rounded Annual Equivalent)

July 1, 2020                        $684.00 per week ($35,568 per year – matching Federal minimum)

January 1, 2021                $778.85 per week ($40,500 per year)

January 1, 2022                $865.38 per week ($45,000 per year)

January 1, 2023                $961.54 per week ($50,000 per year)

January 1, 2024                $1,057.69 per week ($55,000 per year)

January 1, 2025                The 2024 salary will be adjusted by the same CPI as

the Colorado Minimum Wage

Originally the plan was to make the new salary threshold at $42,500 annually starting July 1, 2020 but after push-back from the community, lawmakers gave employers additional time to plan for meeting the new requirements. Anyone who is a salaried employee and does not make at least the amounts listed in the table above, will need to be examined. Their pay will either need to be adjusted to meet the new threshold or they will be required to earn overtime.

The other area that was changed in the new wage order was in regard to clarifying break periods. The previous rule left employers to interpret break rules using a vague description that left many confused. The new rule makes required breaks quite clear:

Work Hours                       Rest Periods Required

2 or fewer                                           0

Over 2, and up to 6                         1

Over 6, and up to 10                      2

Over 10, and up to 14                    3

Over 14, and up to 18                    4

Over 18, and up to 22                    5

Over 22                                               6

Once again, the effective date for these changes is March 16, 2020. If you have any questions or wish to discuss these changes further, please reach out to the HR Department at StaffScapes. The full wage order can be found at: