Posted January 23, 2020
Denver, CO—Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment yesterday issued a final rule expanding overtime pay protections for workers earning up to $55,000 by 2024. The rule makes Colorado the fourth state to take action protecting workers from the Trump Department of Labor’s overtime pay rollback. The new Colorado overtime threshold is roughly the equivalent of the Obama USDOL’s overtime pay expansion, which the Trump Administration replaced with a weak substitute.
“The Trump Administration’s overtime pay rollback is hurting overworked families struggling with long hours and stagnant paychecks. We applaud Colorado for becoming the fourth state to step in to restore overtime pay and the 40 hour workweek. Other governors and legislatures should follow its lead,” said Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.
Under the final Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order released yesterday, the salary threshold beneath which salaried workers are guaranteed overtime pay would be gradually phased up to $55,000 by 2024—a level roughly comparable to an updated overtime rule issued by USDOL during the Obama Administration, which was projected to reach $55,000 by 2023. The Obama overtime rule was replaced last year by the Trump USDOL with a new rule that slashed the guaranteed-overtime salary level to $35,000, leaving more than eight million workers behind.
Colorado’s new COMPS Order also expands minimum wage coverage and other protections such as rest breaks for other workers in the state. The campaign that led to the COMPS Order was driven by a broad coalition, including Towards Justice, the Bell Policy Center, and others, with support from NELP and the Economic Policy Institute.
In addition to Colorado, Washington State, California, and New York have already acted to restore overtime pay protections. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maine, and Massachusetts are proposing to do the same. (This table provides an overview.)
Since the 1970s, the salary threshold for being an overtime-exempt “white collar” worker has steadily eroded, causing the share of full-time salaried workers guaranteed overtime to plummet from 63% in the 1970s to just 15% today under the weak Trump overtime rule. As a result, the 40 hour workweek no longer exists for millions of U.S. workers, such as managers in fast-food chains and retail stores. They are routinely required to put in 50, 60, or even 70 hour weeks, pulling them away from their families, and receiving no extra pay for their hard work and dedication. Restoring overtime pay protections is crucial to restoring work-life balance for America’s overworked families and boosting middle-income workers’ stagnant paychecks.