Press Release: Labor Dept Adopts New Rules Around Equal Pay, Paid Sick

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For Immediate Release

Date: November 11, 2020
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations -


Labor Dept Adopts New Rules Around Equal Pay, Paid Sick

Three laws enacted this summer required Division rulemaking


The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, through its Division of Labor Standards and Statistics, adopted final versions of six sets of rules today.

  • the paid sick days law, the “Healthy Families and Workplaces Act” (HFWA) (SB 20-205, enacted July 14, 2020);
  • the COVID safety whistleblowing and workplace PPE rights law, the “Public Health Emergency Whistleblower Act” (PHEW) (HB 20-1415, enacted July 11, 2020); and
  • the state employee union law, the “Colorado Partnership for Quality Jobs and Services Act” (HB 1153, enacted June 16. 2020)

Also requiring rulemaking by late 2020 were:

  • the “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act” enacted last year (SB 19-085, enacted May 22, 2019, but not in effect until January 1, 2021); and
  • longstanding statutes requiring annual rulemaking to inflation-adjust the Colorado minimum wage in the omnibus set of Colorado wage-and-hour rules, the “Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards (‘COMPS’) Order."


In August, the Division solicited input from a broad cross-section of Coloradans before drafting any rules, by inviting thousands of interested stakeholders to a virtual meeting. The Division extended hundreds of invitations to individuals as well as to major business and labor organizations, who then shared the invitations with their memberships. In September, the Division published the six sets of proposed rules, and also immediately sent them directly to the same broad stakeholder list.

Overall, from August through early November, hundreds of Coloradans, from all over the state, representing employers, employees, and others, submitted written or oral testimony (or both), including at an over two-hour public rulemaking hearing, held virtually, that drew attendance of over 150 people. Stakeholder feedback solicited by the Division spotted a number of legal requirements -- especially in the new laws -- that employers and employees wished to be fleshed out with more clarity. After reviewing all of the hundreds of submitted testimonies, the Division then adopted its rules yesterday, including the following highlights.

  • The 2021 Colorado minimum wage will be $12.32 per hour, up 2.7% from last year’s $12.00, because the Colorado Constitution mandates annual inflation adjustment based on the consumer price index for Colorado, which rose 2.7% over the relevant 12-month period.
  • Under the new state employee union law, a new process had to be created for resolving disputes that may arise between the state and the union or its members. After holding meetings and soliciting testimony from both sides, the Division crafted rules with helpful suggestions from both the state and the union.
  • Greater clarity on a number of points on which labor law otherwise had been, or under the new laws could be, not clear enough for employers to comply, or for employees to know their rights. For example:
  • Under the new paid sick days law: how to transition from 2020 COVID-only leave to 2021 leave for any health need; how paid leave is accrued; how year-to-year leave carryover works; and how employers calculate leave pay rates and hours for non-hourly or irregular-schedule employees.
    • Under the new equal pay law: Different options employers have to comply with the new duty to list the pay in all job postings, and to publicize promotion opportunities to all employees.
    • Under the new health emergency whistleblower and PPE law: What “reasonable concerns” employees now have a right to express, and when they have a right to wear PPE at work.
    • Under all three of the above: Especially with increasing remote work, how to comply with three new laws and related rules requiring a variety of notices, posters, and postings to employees -- of job opportunities, of paid leave availability, and of whistleblower and PPE-wearing rights.

The Division has posted each of the adopted versions of the rules, with accompanying documents that include the legally required “Statement of Basis” explaining the rules adopted, on its rulemaking webpage. Following review of the adopted rule filings for compliance with applicable procedures and requirements, the rules have an effective date of January 1, 2020. Employers, employees, and their representatives can ask any questions about these new laws and rules by contacting the Division at 303-318-8400 or