The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment released the state’s new rules on pay standards and working conditions Wednesday, including huge leaps in the pay threshold to be put on salary.

The new Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards (called COMPS) were formerly known as the Minimum Wage Order. The new rules, which take effect on March 16, say an employee has to make at least $35,568 a year, starting in July, to be put on salary. The old threshold was $23,660 a year. It will move up in steps to $55,000 in 2024.

The overtime threshold has rested at $23,600 a year since 2004.

“CDLE heard testimony from many employers,” the agency said in a press release. “Some supported the $35,568 national level; others sought $62,400; others noted that they, like many, had already adapted the $47,496 salary in 2016 — which the COMPS salary ($55,000 by 2024, equal to the proposed $57,500 by 2026 with inflation) matches.

“Thus, COMPS will go no further than a level already in use by many and studied extensively. Listening to public comments, CDLE accommodated employers by lowering and slowing the salary phase-in, from the proposed $42,500 for 2020-21 to, instead, $35,568 as of July 2020, then $40,500 in 2021. CDLE also accommodated worker requests to reach the full salary level sooner, in 2024 rather than 2026.”

The rule expands the pool of workers covered by the state protections, including ensuring workers get reasonable breaks for rest and meals.

“Centro Humanitario works directly with some of the most marginalized workers in industries where protections are often disregarded,” Sarah Shikes, the organization’s executive director, said in a a statement. “Thanks to the recent changes to the Colorado state law, construction workers are now included and eligible for overtime pay and breaks. We will continue to advocate for treating all workers with dignity especially those working in low-wage jobs, such as agricultural workers.”

The rules, currently, do not apply to agricultural workers.

Dennis Dougherty, the executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, commended Gov. Jared Polis and CDLE for updating the rules for the first time in 20 years.

“It was time for Colorado to right past wrongs and make our wage and overtime rules more equitable across gender and races,” Dougherty said in a statement.

David Seligman, the executive director of the worker advocacy group Towards Justice, said the new rules reflected “important progress for hundreds of thousands of workers across Colorado” who will qualify for overtime.

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