New Colorado Wage Rules

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Colorado will increase to $12.56 per hour. The minimum base wage for tipped employees will be $9.54 per hour.

Agricultural Workers

Agricultural workers (except for “range workers”) will now be entitled to the state minimum wage.


The minimum wage in Denver will increase to $15.87 per hour. The minimum base wage for tipped employees will be $12.85 per hour.

Minimum Exempt Employee Wages

The minimum salary for exempt executive, administrative, professional, and computer employees will be $865.38 per week ($45,000 per year).

The minimum wage for an exempt computer employee who is paid on an hourly basis will be $28.92 per hour.

Use-It-Or-Lose-It Paid Time Off Policies

All earned paid time off that can be used at an employee’s discretion is non-forfeitable. This means employers can’t have a rule that employees will lose their vacation or PTO at the end of each year or forfeit it upon termination. Time off can be used “at an employee’s discretion” when it doesn’t require a precipitating event (like FMLA, state sick leave, or a specific holiday) to be used. If an employer offers a bank of paid leave that can be used for any purpose, no part of it can be forfeited.

Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA)

In 2022, Colorado’s paid sick leave law will apply to employers of all sizes. (In 2021, regular paid sick leave only applied to employers with 16 or more employees but the public health emergency leave portion applied to all employers.) 

The state has clarified payments under the HFWA including:

  • Bonuses do not need to be included in the calculation
  • Employers must use a 30-day lookback to determine an employee’s regular rate of pay (or their entire employment if less than 30 days)
  • The rate for employees with variable pay rates must be determined by adding all of their wages for the last 30 days, then dividing by the total number of hours worked