The new Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order Becomes Effective March 16

On Jan. 22, 2020, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) announced the adoption of the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order #36 (COMPS 36). COMPS 36 replaces Colorado’s Minimum Wage Order 35 and all previous state minimum wage orders.

Among other things, COMPS 36:

  • Expands the scope of the state’s wage orders. Previous wage orders applied only to specific industries. Beginning Mar. 16, 2020, COMPS 36 will apply to all Colorado employers, unless specifically exempt.
  • Sets a schedule for increasing salary levels under the state’s overtime white collar exemptions. The minimum annual salary threshold will increase every year until it reaches $55,000 by Jan. 1, 2025.
  • Offers expanded employee break rights. The 30-minute meal break will become fully compensable if the employee is “on duty” and 10-minute breaks will become more flexible.
  • Clarifies employer obligations regarding pre- and post-work time, employee tips, employee breaks and the duties test for the high-tech computer employee exemption.


The order applies to a wider variety of employees, including migratory laborers, and provides guidelines on relevant factors employers must consider to determine whether any particular worker is an employee or an independent contractor.

COMPS Order 36 also dictates that the term “employer” includes foreign labor and migratory field labor contractors or crew leaders. However, the order does not apply to state, county, city or municipal organizations.

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