Nov 19, 2019

Recent articles

CCLP files comment on overtime protections for farmworkers in Colorado

The following comment was submitted on November 1 to Michael Primo, Director of Operations for the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics, regarding rulemaking pursuant to SB21-081: Agricultural Rights and Responsibilities and COMPS Order #38. Read our new issue...

CCLP statement of opposition on Denver Ballot Measure 2F

Denver voters will be asked to weigh in on several ballot measures during the upcoming election on November 2, 2021. Among them will be ballot measure 2F, also known as “Safe and Sound Denver.” Despite its laudable name, Colorado Center on Law and Policy urges Denver...

Five takeaways for work after COVID-19

Supported by a generous grant from the ECMC Foundation, Colorado Center on Law and Policy set out to track how the experiences of unemployed Coloradans have changed since February 2020. By analyzing economic and labor force data, as well as conducting interviews with...

COMPS order would protect some of Colorado’s hardest workers

As the cost of basic needs in Colorado continues to rise, the Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has proposed updating the state’s Wage Order to add more protections for workers — ensuring more Coloradans are compensated fairly. The Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order (or COMPS) provides protections for fair compensation, while specifying certain workplace rights like meal and rest breaks.

In 2016, when Coloradans approved a ballot measure raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, voters were mostly unaware that the Minimum Wage Order only covered four industries: retail and service; commercial support service; food and beverage; and health and medical. This left out a significant portion of hard-working Coloradans in the manufacturing and construction and other sectors.

Today, federal law only protects the right to be paid overtime for overtime hours works for salaried employees making less than the threshold of $23,660 per year. The U.S. Department of Labor will raise this federal threshold to $35,568 on Jan. 1, 2020; leaving thousands of Coloradans without the right to overtime compensation where the median household income is $71,953. The federal threshold level protected 60 percent of full-time salaried employees in 1975. In 2016, however, that threshold only protected 7 percent of these workers — allowing for situations where qualified and trained managers, administrators and professionals could be paid less than subordinates earning only minimum wage. It is time to update Colorado’s labor policies to reflect the changing 21st century economy and to prepare for building a better future for Colorado’s workforce.

CCLP has joined its partners at Siegal Public Affairs, Towards Justice and the Bell Policy Center, among others, in advocating for CDLE to update the rules to be more inclusive and make the necessary changes to promote fair compensation and allow all Coloradans to benefit more from Colorado’s booming economy.

CDLE released the first proposal for COMPS on Nov. 18, 2019 with a couple of highlights to note. First, all employees from all industries will now be covered by the protections set by the Minimum Wage order unless they are specifically carved out. The proposal ensures agricultural workers receive rest breaks but does not ensure that they receive meal breaks or overtime pay.

The second important item to note is that the proposal raises the minimum salary threshold for overtime exempt workers to $42,500 in 2020, which would gradually increase to $54,500 in 2025 and $57,500 in 2026, before adjusting annually for inflation. Under this rule 80,000 workers would receive overtime pay in 2020, while 206,000 workers would benefit under the 2026 threshold.

While these improvements are moving in the right direction, we encourage the CDLE to go even further in protecting Coloradans. Agricultural workers are one of the most marginalized groups of workers, and we expect the state to step up efforts to improve the financial security for those who work in this important sector. Similarly, the proposed minimum salary threshold is a deserved increase from the current threshold, but thousands of workers will have to wait six years to be eligible to begin receiving overtime pay that they would have earned today. Colorado workers deserve a threshold that is more in line with the state’s rising cost of living and we encourage CDLE to raise the threshold more quickly. This is the final leg of a long process and we urge CDLE to continue moving in the right direction.

Colorado’s state government can and should expand the existing protections to include thousands of workers and allow more Coloradans to prosper. As Colorado’s economy continues to grow, we need to let CDLE know that they must do their part to protect more Coloradans.

The department has opened a comment period for the COMPS proposal and will be accepted until Dec. 31. Comments will be accepted until then and can be submitted by mail to CDLE, fax to 303-318-8400 or email to [email protected] Please let CDLE know how vital this opportunity is to improve the lives of thousands of valuable workers.

CDLE will also host a public hearing for the rule proposal on Monday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. at the Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics office located at 633 17th Street on the 12th floor where you can join CCLP and the rest of the coalition in showing our support for Colorado’s workforce.

-By Miguel Mendez

Recent articles

CCLP files comment on overtime protections for farmworkers in Colorado

The following comment was submitted on November 1 to Michael Primo, Director of Operations for the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics, regarding rulemaking pursuant to SB21-081: Agricultural Rights and Responsibilities and COMPS Order #38. Read our new issue...

CCLP statement of opposition on Denver Ballot Measure 2F

Denver voters will be asked to weigh in on several ballot measures during the upcoming election on November 2, 2021. Among them will be ballot measure 2F, also known as “Safe and Sound Denver.” Despite its laudable name, Colorado Center on Law and Policy urges Denver...

Five takeaways for work after COVID-19

Supported by a generous grant from the ECMC Foundation, Colorado Center on Law and Policy set out to track how the experiences of unemployed Coloradans have changed since February 2020. By analyzing economic and labor force data, as well as conducting interviews with...