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Colorado Workers Call for Overtime Pay in All Industries

December 28, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

DENVER, Colo.—The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is proposing new regulations that would expand the number of workers eligible for overtime pay and raise the salary threshold for exemptions. Greg Happner, a former cannabis-industry warehouse worker, told a hearing in Denver Dec. 16 that he’d worked more than 60 hours a week for straight salary. “I still know a lot of people being taken advantage of like that just from those warehouses,” he said. The department’s proposed Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order would extend the right to time-and-a-half pay from workers in four fields, including retail, medicine, and food and beverage, to any field not specifically exempted, such as professionals. That doesn’t go far enough, said many of the dozens of advocates and workers who turned out: It would not include farm workers, who are also not covered by the federal minimum wage. The proposal would also gradually raise the exemption threshold, to $57,500 in 2026. State Rep. Emily Sirota (D-Denver) argued that it should go up faster: Bringing the cutoff to $57,500 by 2023, she said, would “correct the erosion of overtime protections” more quickly and immediately help nearly 100,000 more workers. Read more

December 28, 2019

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