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Compliance Center

The CRA's sole purpose is to protect your business and help it -- and you -- thrive. We champion your interests in the political arena and endeavor to be your guide to the myriad laws and regulations that can make operating a restaurant so complex. To this end, we have compiled this Compliance Center that we hope becomes as invaluable to running your restaurant as the CRA.

FREE Posters & Signage

Please email FirstCall@corestaurant.org to request these items:

  • Colorado labor law laminated poster
  • Federal (National Labor Relations Board) labor law laminated poster
  • Employee hand-washing signs
  • Removal of alcohol from premises/patio signs
  • No serving alcohol to minors warning signs
  • CRA member window sticker
  • For other common retail foodservice signs from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, click here.
  • For ATM signs about the prohibited use of EBT cards, click here.


COVID-19 Resources

Quick links, recommended policies, and compliance updates related to COVID-19 can be found here.


Colorado Overtime & Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order #37

November 2021

The Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order ("COMPS" Order) is the source of key wage rights and responsibilities: 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 #37 replaced COMPS Order #36 effective on January 1, 2021, and COMPS Order #38, which has yet to be released as final, will be effective on January 1, 2022. 

For context, the final ruling on COMPS Order #36 was adopted on January 22, 2020, and took effect on March 16, 2020 (except for the overtime exemption threshold, which went into effect July 1, 2020). Find the Order here.

Important changes from COMPS Order #37:

Minimum Wage
Effective January 1, 2021, State minimum wage is $12.32 per hour. This means the tipped minimum wage is $9.30 per hour. (Note: Denver minimum wage is $14.77 per hour and the tipped minimum wage is $11.75 per hour.)

On January 1, 2022, State minimum wage will increase to $12.56 per hour, with a tipped minimum wage of $9.54 per hour. (Denver minimum wage will increase to $15.87 per hour in 2022, and the tipped minimum wage will increase to $12.85 per hour.)

Overtime exemption threshold
Beginning January 1, 2021, employees must be paid a salary of AT LEAST $778.85 per week (which equates to $40,500 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, 2021                     $778.85/week ($40,500 per year)
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 backpay 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.

Here's some sample time clock waiver language that you can use: "I hereby verify that my time entries for the prior week(s) have been recorded accurately, and that I have been provided all meal and rest breaks to which I am entitled in accordance with state law and company policy."

Uniforms

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), then you do not need to provide it free of charge.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

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 

For the State's Employer Guide to Workers' Compensation in English, click here. For the Employer Guide in Spanish, click here.

To find a Colorado Workers' Compensation carrier, click here.

A Workers' Compensation Act poster must be displayed on the workplace premises. Click here for the poster in English. Click here for the poster in Spanish.

The Notice to Employer of Injury Poster must be displayed on the workplace premises and must be a minimum of 14 inches high and 11 inches wide. Click here for the poster in both English and Spanish.


Legal Advice

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 do need more than what you find in the Legal Resource Center online, please call (303) 830-2972 or email FirstCall@corestaurant.org to request expert help.

Employment Forms and Fact Sheets

  • Current minimum wage requirements in Colorado: Click here
  • I-9 Employment Eligibility and Verification forms and information: Click here
  • Social Security Number Verification Service: Click here
  • W-4 form: Click here
  • W-9 Form: Click here
  • Colorado Youth Employment fact sheet: Click here
  • Use of Consumer Credit Information by Employers fact sheet: Click here
  • Colorado General Employment Laws and Resources fact sheet: Click here
  • For more information about an Employee Handbook Template, email us at firstcall@corestaurant.org.


Other Tax Forms

  • Utility Sales Tax Credit Form DR-1465: Click here. (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: Click here

Government Agency Quick Links

  • U.S. Department of Labor: Click here
  • U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Services: Click here
  • Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment: Click here
  • Colorado Department of Labor & Employment: Click here
  • Colorado Department of Revenue, Taxation Division: Click here
  • Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division: Click here

Denver-Specific Documents and Resources

  • Business Start-up Checklist: Click here
  • Denver Outdoor Dining Program: Click here
  • Development permits to build or remodel a restaurant in Denver: Click here
  • Denver Business Taxes (forms, information, payment): Click here
  • Food Safety System Toolkit: Click here


Compliance Resources

  • Starting a Business in Colorado: Click here for FAQs and click here for the Colorado Business Resource Book
  • ID Checking Guide Book: Click here
  • Liquor and Tobacco Enforcement Division, for liquor license information, lists, and resources: Click here
  • Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations (effective January 2019): Click here for Englishclick here for Spanish
    • Signs related to retail food handling; logs and flowcharts; guidance documents: Click here
  • Federal Menu-Labeling Requirements: Click here
  • Colorado Department of Revenue: Click here
  • Colorado Department of Labor and Employment: Click here
  • Information on tips vs. service charges: Click here
  • Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division Retail Licensing Handbook, including age requirements for selling alcohol: Click here

National Restaurant Association Tools

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest foodservice trade association in the world by membership, supporting nearly 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:

  • NRA Restaurant Law Center: Click here
  • 2021 State of the Industry (free to members, $149 for non-members): Click here
  • NRA Industry Research: Click here

Ask the CRA

We receive questions on a daily basis from our members, on topics ranging from account information to compliance to legal issues. Below is a list of the topics and questions we're asked about most often! What's below and much more is addressed in the CRA Help Center, which you can access here.


Become a Member

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