The labor and employment rules and regulations you don’t know can hurt your business if you’re not in compliance. Here you’ll find all the resources and information you need to take care of your teams and protect your restaurant or bar.
The CRA provides free, limited legal advice through our Legal Resource Center. This compilation of resources includes a network of member attorneys, labor law and compliance posters, educational programs, and other tools and information to help keep your business in compliance. If you need advice outside of what is offered in the Legal Resource Center online, please call (303) 830-2972 or email FirstCall@corestaurant.org to request further help.
These templates from our legal partners at Fisher & Phillips LLP will help you build out your employee handbook and document COVID-19 issues:
Mandatory Vaccine Policy Template
Request for Vaccine Medical Exemption Template
Request for Vaccine Religious Exemption Template
For more COVID-19 updates and information, check out our COVID-19 Resources.
The links below provide easy access to handbooks and the rules and regulations every Colorado business needs to follow.
Starting a Business in Colorado FAQs
Colorado Business Resource Book
ID Checking Guide Book
Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations (effective January 2019)
Denver Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations (effective April 2017)
For more information about acquiring a discounted template for an Employee Handbook, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick links to the tax and employment information and documents you need:
I-9 Employment Eligibility and Verification forms and information
Social Security Number Verification Service
Colorado Youth Employment fact sheet
Use of Consumer Credit Information by Employers fact sheet
Colorado General Employment Laws and Resources fact sheet
Utility Sales Tax Credit Form DR-1465
The Utilities Sales Tax Credit allows you to deduct from your taxable sales a portion of your utility costs (electricity, gas, propane, etc.) for the manufacturing and processing of food. This tax credit was obtained for you by the CRA after extensive negotiations with the Colorado Department of Revenue. All cities, counties, and districts whose sales taxes are collected by the Department of Revenue can be included in this calculation. Be sure to use and claim this benefit!
Claim for Refund of Tax Paid to Vendors form
Colorado Pregnancy Accommodation form
If you require employees to wear a uniform (such as a logoed shirt), you must provide one free of charge. (This is a change from prior law, when you could take a 50-percent deposit on the uniform.)
This law applies only to dress or equipment that an employee would not reasonably own prior to their employment. In other words, if part of your uniform is something the employee could reasonably already own (e.g. black pants), you do not need to provide it free of charge.
Current information regarding minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest breaks, wage deductions, and more:
Colorado Overtime & Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order 38 (Updated March 2022)
The Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order (“COMPS” Order) is the source of key wage rights and responsibilities for local employers: eligibility for the Colorado minimum wage; overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week or 12 a day; meal and rest breaks; and rules on wage deductions, on what work time must be paid, and on posting the COMPS Order to employees.
Portions of the COMPS Order need to be amended annually, to adjust the minimum wage for inflation as the Colorado Constitution requires, and to adjust similar wage figures. COMPS Order #38 replaced COMPS Order #37 effective on January 1, 2022.
Important changes from COMPS Order #38:
Effective January 1, 2022, State minimum wage is $12.56 per hour. This means the tipped minimum wage is $9.54 per hour. (Note: Denver minimum wage is $15.87 per hour and the tipped minimum wage is $12.85 per hour.)
Overtime Exemption Threshold
Beginning January 1, 2022, employees must be paid a salary of AT LEAST $865.38 per week (which equates to $45,000 annually) to be EXEMPT from overtime. Importantly, tips DO NOT count toward this total salary and hourly workers are never exempt from overtime. They must also meet the duties test for exempt employees to be exempt from overtime, which is not changing. Find the duties test here, and expected exempt salary increases below:
Date Weekly Overtime-Exempt Salary
January 1, 2022 $865.38/week (45,000 per year)
January 1, 2023 $961.54/week ($50,000 per year)
January 1, 2024 $1,057.69/week ($55,000 per year)
January 1, 2025 The 2024 salary adjusted by CPI
Meal and Rest Periods
Employees who work at least five consecutive hours are entitled to an uninterrupted and duty-free meal period of at least 30 minutes. Employees must also be given a compensated 10-minute rest period for each 4 hours of work. Rest periods must be long enough for an employee to use the restroom or rest in a designated break room.
If an employee doesn’t get a 10-minute break, you have to pay for that extra 10 minutes, and back pay can add up quickly if you fail to do so.
The only exception to the rest period rule is if on a given workday, or in writing covering up to a one-year period that is signed by both parties, the employee and employer agree voluntarily and without coercion to have two five-minute breaks.
Make sure your employees are not only getting their rest periods, but also acknowledging that they received them by either signing a statement before getting their paycheck or otherwise confirming this electronically.
Time clock acknowledgement template
Colorado Department of Labor & Employment Wage and Hour Laws
Current information regarding Colorado’s new paid leave program, which employers must begin contributing to on January 1, 2023:
Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program (Updated November 2022)
Colorado voters approved Proposition 118 in November 2020, paving the way for a state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. The FAMLI program will ensure all Colorado workers have access to paid leave in order to take care of themselves or their family during life circumstances that pull them away from their jobs — like growing their family or taking care of a loved one with a serious health condition.
Both employers and employees will contribute premiums to the program (although employers can opt to pay the entire premium and not deduct half from their employees’ checks, if they wish). Premium payments begin in 2023, so employees may start to see a FAMLI premium deduction on their pay stubs beginning January 1, 2023.
FAMLI is a shared fee between employers and employees based on 0.9% of wages. This rate is set through 2025.
Employers are responsible for “remitting” on behalf of their employees or paying into the fund on their employees’ behalf. This can be achieved through a wage deduction as a part of existing payroll processes (or employers can pay the full .9% and not withdraw contributions from employee wages). An employer will not be required to pay more than 0.45% (or half the premium)* into the program from its own business expenses.
*If you have less than 10 employees, you are not required to pay the employer share.
*If you have 10 or more employees, you may deduct up to 50% of the 0.9% premium as a standard payroll deduction.
Because the rate has already been set, this formula is used to calculate premiums:
- (annual income X .009) / 2 = employer share
- (annual income x .009) / 2 = employee share
The upper limit of what an employer may be required to pay for a senior level or executive employee is capped at the same rate their social security withholding is. The Federal Social Security Wage Cap is set at $160,200 for earnings in 2023.
FAMLI will start providing benefits to employees beginning January 1, 2024. Most eligible employees will receive up to 12 weeks of leave. Those who experience pregnancy or childbirth complications may receive an additional four weeks.
Colorado Division of Family and Medical Leave Insurance
2023 FAMLI Employee Handbook
Tips and service charges are a constant source of questions for Colorado restaurant operators, so we compiled these resources and FAQs to help clarify.
80/20 Rule Resources
Colorado Department of Labor Tipped Employee Resources
In Colorado, all businesses with one or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance, regardless of the number of employees and whether the employees work part-time, full-time, or are members of the owner’s family.
To learn more about workers’ compensation requirements, please visit the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (CDLE) Division of Workers’ Compensation here.
To find a Colorado Workers’ Compensation carrier, click here.
A Workers’ Compensation Act poster and the Notice to Employer of Injury poster must be displayed on the workplace premises. You can find both of those posters in English and Spanish on the CRA Posters & Signage page.
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest foodservice trade association in the world by membership, supporting more than 500,000 restaurant businesses. NRA staff and lobbyists represent and advocate for foodservice industry interests with state, local, and national policymakers, taking on financial and regulatory obstacles before they hit members’ bottom line and providing tools and systems that help members of all sizes operate more efficiently.
The NRA, in conjunction with state restaurant associations like the CRA, strives to move our industry forward by finding answers to the tough questions, distilling complex information into practical knowledge, and helping our members navigate the issues that can leave them in the weeds. Below are just a few of the national resources that the NRA provides: