Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) & Colorado Minimum Wage and Overtime

Non-exempt (hourly) employees who are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are entitled to an hourly minimum wage and overtime pay.

In 2015, the FLSA minimum wage is $7.25 per hour (or $2.13 per hour for FLSA tipped minimum wage). FLSA covered employees are also entitled to time and a half of their regular rate of pay (at or above the minimum wage) for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per work week.

In Colorado, employees who are covered by the FLSA or the Colorado Minimum Wage Order are entitled to the Colorado hourly minimum wage and overtime pay. Effective January 1, 2015, such employees are entitled to a minimum wage of $8.23 per hour (or $5.21 per hour for state tipped minimum wage). If an employee is covered by both the FLSA and Colorado state minimum wage laws, the employer must pay the higher minimum wage.

Colorado also requires overtime pay if the covered employee works more than twelve hours in a workday.

Employers violate the FLSA and Colorado state minimum wage and overtime laws when they know that covered employees are not being compensated according to the minimum wage (or overtime) for all hours worked. Employers also violate these laws when they misclassify (and thus underpay) non-exempt (hourly) employees as exempt (salaried) employees. The employer must show that an employee meets the legal requirements for exempt status.

Employers violate the FLSA and Colorado Regulations when they fail to relieve covered employees from their duties during lunch breaks, or when they fail to allow covered employees to take required rest periods during the workday. These meal breaks and rest breaks must be provided and cannot be work-time. Thus, an employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating a regular meal. For example, an office employee who is required to eat at his/her desk is improperly working while eating. If such breaks are required, an employee must be completely freed from duties during the break period.

It is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for complaining about an FLSA or Colorado Wage violation, or for participating in an investigation of such.