Colorado Proposes Increasing Minimum Salary of Overtime-Exempt Workers to $57,500

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

November 20, 2019

The minimum annual salary for many overtime-exempt employees in Colorado would increase to $57,500 under new regulations proposed by the state labor department.

The change is meant to ensure that workers are not deemed exempt "while logging long hours at well-below-minimum wages," according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment's Division of Labor Standards and Statistics.

If finalized, the new regulations also would:

  • Expand employee coverage;
  • Add exemptions for business owners and nonprofit proprietors;
  • Repeal exemptions for "companions" and other domestic workers;
  • Clarify certain job-specific exemptions; and
  • Make changes to the minimum wage credit for meals and lodging.

Interested parties have until December 31 to comment on the proposed regulations. Comments can be submitted by email to; by fax to (303) 318-8400; or by mail to the Division of Labor Standards & Statistics, 633 17th Street, Denver CO 80202.

The department intends to finalize the regulations by January 10, 2020. The anticipated effective date of the regulations is March 1, 2020 (except for the new salary levels, which would take effect July 1, 2020.

The Path to $57,500

Under the proposed regulations, the minimum salary threshold for overtime-exempt executives/supervisors, professionals and administrative decision-makers would increase according to the following schedule:

Date Minimum Weekly Salary Level Minimum Annual Salary Level
July 1, 2020 $817.31 $42,500
January 1, 2022 $875.00 $45,500
January 1, 2023 $932.69 $48,500
January 1, 2024 $990.38 $51,500
January 1, 2025 $1,048.08 $54,500
January 1, 2026 $1,105.77 $57,500
January 1, 2027, and every January 1 thereafter Adjusted for inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index used for Colorado

Expanded Coverage

In addition to raising the minimum salary, the proposed regulations would expand the coverage of Colorado's minimum wage and overtime laws.

Previous wage orders have covered only four broadly defined industries: retail and service; food and beverage; commercial support service; and health and medical. As a result, employees' coverage depended not just on their duties, but on their employer's line of business. For example, a fact sheet states that "a janitor at a retail store was covered, but not a janitor doing the same work at a construction firm; a construction worker could be covered if the employer was hired for certain commercial work, but not for a residential site."

The new regulations would presumptively cover all employees, unless specifically excluded.

"Employers and employees alike reported that the four coverage categories were confusing, making wage disputes more likely, more time-consuming, and more costly. The move to presumptive coverage eliminates that confusion and assures that any exemptions are based on an identified need specific to the employer or employee," according to the fact sheet.

Other State and Federal Actions

Colorado's proposed regulations come out against a backdrop of other action around the nation.

At the federal level, new regulations from the US Department of Labor (DOL) taking effect January 1, 2020, will increase the minimum salary for overtime-exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from $23,660 to $35,568.

Alaska, California and New York already have minimum salaries that exceed the forthcoming federal rate.

Meanwhile, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington are in the midst of raising their minimum salaries via the regulatory process while legislators in other states, including Maine and Massachusetts, have introduced bills that would raise their states' minimum salaries by amending state law.