9 Common Violations of Colorado Overtime Laws

Most Colorado employees are entitled to overtime pay (time and one-half their “regular rate of pay”) for all overtime hours worked. Nonetheless, employers frequently violate Colorado and federal overtime laws. Below are nineĀ of the most common violations of the overtime laws:

  • Assuming that salaried employees are not entitled to overtime pay: With the exception of higher level executive, management or professional staff, most salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay.
  • Failing to pay overtime for hours worked over 12 per day: Most people are aware of the requirement to pay overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week but many are unaware that overtime pay also is owed for hours over 12/day.
  • Failing to include all compensation in calculating the “regular rate of pay”: In addition to salary or hourly pay, an employee’s non-discretionary bonuses, stipends and shift pay, as well as most other compensation should be included in calculating overtime pay.
  • “Comp” time or averaging over more than one week: For purposes of determining whether overtime hours have been worked, each week stands alone. Thus, it is improper to average hours over two or more weeks or give “comp” time in lieu of overtime pay
  • Calculating overtime pay on the server minimum wage: Tipped employees can be paid less per hour on the theory that their tips make up the difference. This “server minimum wage” is generally $3.02/hour less than the full minimum wage. If, however, a tipped employee works overtime, overtime pay must be calculated on the full minimum wage.
  • Failing to include all hours worked in calculating overtime pay: Often employers fail to count hours worked by employees in determining overtime. For example, time before a shift preparing to work (e.g., putting on safety equipment or preparing machinery or equipment) or time after a shift preparing to leave is paid work time. Similarly, if an employee does not get her entire meal break, that time also must be counted as work time.
  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors: Many employers call their workers independent contractors to avoid paying overtime. If, however, an employer retains a significant degree of control over how a worker performs his job, that worker generally is not an independent contractor.
  • Paying per diem or day rate: Even workers paid at a set amount per day or per job must be paid overtime when their hours worked exceed 40/week or 12/day.
  • Failing to combine hours worked in multiple jobs: If you work in multiple job classifications or at multiple sites for the same or related employers, your hours worked in all jobs must be combined for overtime purposes.

If you think any of these issues apply to you, pleaseĀ contact us for a confidential evaluation.