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4 Issues That Are Critical for Businesses

As we start the New Year, we want to ensure you’re aware of some of the regulatory changes that come with it.

Here are four issues we think are critical for businesses of all sizes and industries to be aware of.

Overtime threshold changes. As of Jan. 1, employers must now pay overtime for any employees earning less than $35,568 annually who work more than 12 hours in a day or more than 40 hours in a week, increasing from the previous level of $23,660 per year.

While employers had time to prepare for this federal increase, under a newly proposed Colorado rule, that threshold could then increase again to $42,500 on July 1 – and then by $3,000 each year until 2026, when it will be $57,500 a year. Our members have concerns with that level, which we shared with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. We urged them to delay the July increase; consider a more modest increase over time or tie it to economic indicators; and to consider rural Colorado and the economic diversity of our state. We’ll keep you updated on any changes.

Minimum wage increases for state and Denver workers. Jan. 1 also marked an increase in the minimum wage rate in Colorado and the City and County of Denver. State minimum wage increased from $11.10 to $12 and from $8.08 to $8.98 for tipped employees, as required in the state constitution. Meanwhile, minimum wage in Denver increased to $12.85 per hour.

New penalty for wage theft. The penalty for wage theft greater than $2,000 is now a felony as of Jan. 1. The amended law applies to employers who are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as foreign labor contractors and migratory field labor contractors or crew leaders (excluding federal, state and local government entities). Also, an employee can now include someone who performs labor or services for the benefit of an employer.

Equal Pay for Equal Work Act goes into effect in 2021. Now is the time to start preparing your business for a number of changes outlined in 2019’s Senate Bill 85. The law forbids discrimination between genders based on pay; requires that companies post all job openings internally and list a salary range for the position; and forbids employers from asking about salary history.

Our investor and partner Employers Council has been tracking these and other regulation changes. Read the Employers Council blog post to learn about all the employment laws that are changing for 2020.

And, as the legislative session kicks off this week, we’ll be tracking more issues that can have an impact on your business. Don’t miss any of them by signing up for our policy alert.

Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.