The Colorado Wage Act Encompasses More Than Just Traditional “Wages” And Extends to Many Forms of Compensation

The Colorado Wage Act Encompasses More Than Just Traditional “Wages” And Extends to Many Forms of Compensation

The Colorado Wage Act (C.R.S. 8-4-101 et seq.) requires Colorado employers to pay employees their earned wages in a timely manner. The Act is not limited, however, to what many regard as “wages.” The term “wages” is broadly defined to encompass all earned, vested, and determinable amounts for labor or service performed by employees, regardless of the method of calculation (e.g., time, task, piece, commission, etc.). Thus, in addition to salary or hourly wages, the term “wages” includes bonuses or commissions earned for labor or services performed in accordance with the terms of any agreement between an employer and employee. The terms also includes vacation pay earned in accordance with the terms of any agreement. 
If an employer provides paid vacation for an employee, the employer must pay upon separation from employment all vacation pay earned and determinable in accordance with the terms of any agreement between the employer and the employee. The term “wages,” however, does not include severance pay.
According to the Colorado Department of Labor, the following types of complaints are covered by the Colorado Wage Act:

  • Non-payment of wages for work performed in Colorado in the last 2 years (or 3 years if willful)
  • Minimum wage violations
  • Unauthorized deductions from wages
  • Non-payment of overtime in certain industries
  • Non-payment of unused vacation pay earned in accordance with an employer’s policy
  • Dishonored (bounced) paychecks
  • Tip or gratuity disputes
  • Meal or rest period disputes in certain industries
  • Unpaid commissions or bonuses