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Colorado employers are well aware of the state laws when it comes to employee compensation. At least they should be. Unless an employee is exempt from the provisions of the Colorado minimum wage laws, they are required to pay all adult employees at least equal to the minimum wage.
Effective Jan. 1, 2015, Colorado's minimum wage increased to $8.23 per hour and $5.21 per hour for tipped employees. In 2014, the minimum wage was $8.00 and $4.98 for tipped employees. The minimum wage, per the Colorado Constitution, is adjusted each year for inflation.
Employees who are eligible, and find that they have not been paid at least the state's minimum wage amount, have a right to file a written complaint stating the alleged violations with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. In addition, they can secure an attorney and fight for any back wages owed to them.
If an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the highest of the two shall be paid. Currently, for 2015, the federal minimum wage is $7.25. Since Colorado's minimum wage is higher, employees shall be paid per the Colorado minimum wage law.
Currently, the following positions are considered exempt:
Minors who have not been emancipated may be compensated at $6.80 per hour; however, when they turn 18, they must be paid the minimum wage. Minors who have not been emancipated are subject to the Colorado Youth and Employment Opportunity Act, as well as the federal Fair Labor and Standards Act. Where conflict arises, the more stringent regulations of the two are applied.
Therefore, for Colorado, no employer can work an individual under the age of 18, who has not received a high school diploma or the equivalent GED, more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. Those under 16 years of age are not permitted to work in excess of three hours on any school day. On non-school days, they can work eight hours, but no more than 18 hours in a week during school session. Minors under 16 who are working "during school" hours must also have a permit issued by the superintendent of their school district.
Working hours allowed for those under 16 are between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. during school session. From June 1 to Labor Day, the hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Exclusions would be those who are 16 or 17 years of age, as well as those working as actors, performers or models. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website shows a side-by-side comparison of the CYEOA and FLSA regulations that apply to youth.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified wage and hour lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local wage and hour attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.