Colorado’s New Minimum Wage Rates Now in Effect

By Dana Holle, GovDocs Associate Counsel, Employment Law and Compliance
Published Jan. 23, 2024

Colorado New Minimum Wage 2024 GovDocs

2024 brings many new minimum wage rates to state and local jurisdictions across the United States, including Colorado.

What will the minimum wage be in 2024 in Colorado?

The new year brings several new minimum wage rates to state and local jurisdictions across the United States. This holds true in Colorado, where over the last several years, the Centennial State’s minimum wage rate has been adjusting annually for cost-of-living increases. Colorado’s new minimum wage is $14.42. 

However, unlike most state and local jurisdictions, Colorado engages in a rulemaking process with the public prior to announcing its official minimum wage rates for the upcoming year.

Colorado’s Rulemaking Process 

Typically, in late September, Colorado’s Division of Labor Standards and Statistics (“Division”) initiates the rulemaking process for several of its wage and hour rules. A hearing date is then set with a public comment period on the proposed changes. After comments are considered and the public hearing takes place, the Division officially publishes the updates, usually in mid-November.  

In this instance, the Division completed its rulemaking on Nov. 9, 2023, when it adopted its minimum wage rates under the Publication and Yearly Calculation of Adjusted Labor Compensation Order (“PAY CALC Order”), now in effect as of Jan. 1, 2024.  

2024 PAY CALC Order 

Under the 2024 PAY CALC Order, which annually publishes adjustments to the state’s minimum pay and income levels for the upcoming year, Colorado’s minimum wage rates increased on Jan. 1, 2024, to:  

  • $14.42 for standard employees (up from $13.65) 
  • $11.40 for tipped employees (up from $10.63) 

The minimum wage for non-emancipated minors ($12.26 per hour) and minimum pay for agricultural range workers ($590.61 per week) also updated as of Jan. 1, 2024.  

Exempt Salary Threshold Updates 

Additionally, the exempt salary threshold increased for administrative, executive, and professional employees, referred to as “EAP” employees in Colorado. On Jan. 1, 2024, EAP employees must now be paid $1,057.69 per week, rounded to $55,000 annually, and meet the applicable job duties test to be considered exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements.  

Other updates include increases to the exempt pay levels for highly technical computer employees, either $33.17 per hour or the EAP salary level, and for highly compensated employees, $123,750 annually and at least the EAP salary weekly. Certain covered drivers, driver’s helpers, seasonal camp staff, and outdoor education field staff under Colorado’s minimum wage law also have updated pay levels for 2024.  

Minimum Wage Updates in Local Jurisdictions 

In addition to the 2024 PAY CALC Order, Colorado employers must direct their attention to local jurisdictions that updated their minimum wage rates on Jan. 1, 2024.  

As a refresher, in 2019, Colorado reversed course and adopted House Bill 19-1210, which repealed its previous law prohibiting local governments from adopting their own minimum wage ordinances. In the first few years post-repeal, only Denver adopted a minimum wage ordinance with a higher wage than the state. However, this changed in 2023 when both Edgewater and unincorporated Boulder County adopted their own local minimum wage ordinances.  

As of Jan. 1, 2024, the new local minimum wage rates are as follows: 

  • Boulder County – $15.69 ($12.67 tipped)  
  • Denver – $18.29 ($15.27 tipped) 
  • Edgewater – $15.02 ($12.00 tipped) 

When employees are subject to federal, state, and local minimum wage laws, employers should pay the higher, most favorable minimum wage rate to their employees. Nevertheless, competing minimum wage rates only adds another layer of complexity to the difficult task of monitoring wage rates throughout the state.  

Managing Updates to Minimum Wage Rates 

With no time to waste, employers in Colorado should confirm compliance with the new state minimum wage and any applicable city or county wage rate changes. While tracking, reviewing, and communicating minimum wage rate requirements is often a challenging task for multi-state employers, minimum wage management is the first step to ensure success with minimum wage compliance. 

What’s Next? 

On top of the minimum wage and pay levels passed under the 2024 PAY CALC Order, Colorado adopted amendments to its wage and hour rules that also took effect on Jan. 1, 2024.  

So, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, be on the lookout for a second blog providing an overview of the new wage and hour amendments under the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order, located on GovDocs’ Employment Law News page.  

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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