Colorado Agriculture Labor Toolkit | Colorado Farm Bureau

Colorado Agriculture Labor Toolkit

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) adopted the new rules as part of the implementation of Senate Bill 87 (SB 87). Introduced in February of 2021, SB 87 was signed into law by Governor Polis in late June of 2021. The new CDLE rules on agriculture overtime and labor conditions went into effect at the beginning of 2022.

We hope these key points serve as a helpful starting point as you consider your compliance obligations. These summaries are not meant to be exhaustive, and we encourage you to read the new CDLE rules as they’ve been written. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Director of Public Policy, State Affairs and General Counsel Austin Vincent.

Colorado Ag Labor Rules

Special thanks to Range Law for putting together comprehensive guidance on agricultural/employment labor. To access their toolkit and guidance on issues such as H2A, Overtime, Key Service Provider access and much more, click the button below.

Compliance Guideance

Click below to view a webinar that Range Law hosted in partnership with the Colorado Livestock Association and Colorado Farm Bureau.


Wages and Breaks

Minimum wage: Pay must be at least $12.56/hour in 2022; this minimum rises yearly for cost of living.

– Piece rate or other pay must still total at least the minimum wage for the worker’s hours that week.

Time-and-a-half overtime: For example, $21.00 per hour for workers regularly paid $14.00 per hour.

– Overtime is after 60 hours as of November 1, 2022 — then the number of hours drops in 2024-25.

– By 2025, overtime is after 48 hours (except 56 hours for highly seasonal employers’ peak seasons).

Rest breaks: Workers must be fully relieved of duty for paid breaks of 10 minutes every 4 hours, plus:

– the third paid rest break must be 30 minutes in days over 12 hours; and

– an extra 1-hour break in weeks over 60 hours, or two extra 1-hour breaks in weeks over 70 hours.

Meal breaks: In workdays of at least 5 hours, workers must be given 30-minute meal breaks.

– If workers are fully relieved of duty, meal breaks can be unpaid. If not, they can eat on paid work time.

– In weeks over 40 hours, workers can extend an unpaid meal break to 60 minutes.



Worksite Access to Key Service Providers

– Workers can see key service providers at the worksite when off-duty — or on-duty for health needs.

– Extra 60-minute paid breaks required in long weeks: one break in 60+hr weeks; two in 70+hr weeks.

– Extra 60-minute paid breaks to access service providers required in long weeks: one break in 60+hr weeks; two in 70+hr weeks.

– Housed workers can have visitors when off-duty, and weekly transportation to see service providers.

– Employees allowed communication access to Key Service Providers.


Health & Safety Protections: Heat; Housing; Weeding & Thinning*

*BE ADVISED: Different rules may apply to range workers.

When the temperature is 80 degrees or higher, workers have the right to water and shade:

– Water, 32 ounces an hour, 60 degrees or colder that workers can drink on shifts and breaks (or if workers travel most of the day, as much water as possible, or equipment to carry or purify water)

– Shade, near enough to worksites, and with enough space, for use during breaks (or, if shade can’t be provided, other sun protection like individual cooling items)

In these increased risk conditions, workers must have 10 minutes’ paid rest after each 2 hours worked:

– temperature 95 degrees or higher

– unhealthy air quality

– workers’ first 4 days of work

– work requiring heavy clothing/gear

– days over 12 hours

Short-handled hoes aren’t allowed, and for other weeding or thinning:

– employers must provide gloves and knee pads for any hand-weeding, -thinning, or hot-capping; and

– stooped, kneeling, or squatting work is strongly disfavored unless there’s no other suitable method.

– Only limited types of hand-weeding and hand-thinning allowed.

Housing: during a public health emergency, employer-provided housing must meet minimum square footage requirements, and employers must provide safety materials and training.


Enforcement: Notice of Rights; Retaliation; Complaints & Questions

Employers must notify employees of ALRRA rights, including with worksite postings and trainings, and can’t retaliate against anyone for trying to use or defend any ALRRA rights or protections.

Workers can file complaints of violations (wages/breaks, retaliation, heat, housing, services, etc.), and employers can ask questions about compliance by contacting the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics.


Union Rights & Responsibilities

– If workers ask, the Division runs elections for them to vote on whether to form a union to represent them.

– The Division investigates unfair labor practice complaints — for example, if an employer punishes union-related activity or if a union strikes without advance notice in situations when notice is required.