February 14, 2008

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Colorado Employment Law Alert - New Minumum Wage and Worker Verification Requirements

The Colorado minimum wage was increased on January 1, 2008.  The new state minimum wage for all employees who receive the state or federal minimum wage is $7.02 per hour.  For tipped employees (employees who regularly receive tips), the new minimum wage is $4.00 per hour.

Starting January 1, 2009, and in subsequent years, the minimum wage will be adjusted annually for inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index used for Colorado.  This inflation adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), All Items, for the Denver-Boulder-Greeley combined metropolitan statistical areas, as published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment Verification Requirements

On January 1, 2007, a new Colorado law concerning employment verification requirements went into effect (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-2-122).  This law applies to all public and private employers who transact business in Colorado, and to employees hired on or after January 1, 2007.  There are two main components to this law:

(1)     Each employer in Colorado make an affirmation within 20 days after hiring a new employee.  The employer must keep a written or electronic copy of the affirmation for the term of employment for each employee.  A sample affirmation is attached to this alert.  The employer must affirm that it has examined the legal work status of the employee, it has retained file copies of the employee's Form I-9 documents, it has not altered or falsified the employee's identification documents, and it has not knowingly hired an unauthorized alien.  A copy of the form Affirmation is attached to this Alert.

(2)     The employer must keep a written or electronic copy of the employee's identity documents presented for the federal Form I-9.  The copies must be retained for the term of employment for each employee.

This law is being enforced by the Colorado Division of Labor, which is conducting random audits of employers to obtain the required documentation.  An employer who (1) with reckless disregard, fails to submit the required documentation, or (2) with reckless disregard, submits false or fraudulent documentation, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $5,000 for the first offense, and not more than $25,000 for the second and any subsequent offense.    

Revised Form I-9

As noted above, Colorado employers need to keep a copy of the identity documents presented for completion of the federal I-9.  Pursuant to federal law, every U.S. employer must have a Form I-9 for each new employee unless the employee was hired before November 7, 1986 and has been continuously employed by the same employer.  Additionally, a Form I-9 does not need to be completed for those individuals:

  • Providing domestic services in a private household that are sporadic, irregular, or intermittent;
  • Providing services for the employer as an independent contractor; and
  • Providing services for the employer, under a contract, subcontract, or exchange entered into after November 6, 1986.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recently released a revised Form I-9 (Rev. 6/05/07), which is attached to this Alert.  The revised Form I-9 must be used for all newly hired employees. Click the previous paragraph (in blue) to view and print relevant forms.

Labor & Employment Group at Ryley Carlock & Applewhite

Employers of all kinds turn to the Ryley Carlock & Applewhite Labor & Employment group for assistance regarding proactive counseling, collective bargaining and union relations and employment litigation.

If you have any questions about these employment updates and how your business may be impacted, please contact Carolann E. Bullock at cbullock@rcalaw.com, Kristy L. Peters at kpeters@rcalaw.com or Roger Williams at rwilliams@rcalaw.com.  If you would like to receive Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite's "Employer Alerts" electronically, please contact Paul Ward, Marketing Director, at pward@rcalaw.com.

Carolann E. Bullock                cbullock@rcalaw.com               (602) 440-4828

Charles L. Chester                  cchester@rcalaw.com              (602) 440-4806

John M. Fry                             jfry@rcalaw.com                    (602) 440-4867

Andrea G. Lisenbee                alisenbee@rcalaw.com            (602) 440-4832

Cecil A. Lynn III                    clynn@rcalaw.com                    (602) 440-4827

Michael D. Moberly                mmoberly@rcalaw.com             (602) 440-4821

Nathan R. Niemuth                 nniemuth@rcalaw.com             (602) 440-4810

Rodolfo Parga, Jr.                   rparga@rcalaw.com                 (602) 440-4848

Kristy L. Peters                       kpeters@rcalaw.com                (602) 440-4863

Ellen J. Glass                          eglass@rcalaw.com                (602) 440-4887

Erin O. Sweeney                     esweeney@rcalaw.com              (602) 440-4858

Roger T. Williams                   rwilliams@rcalaw.com               (303) 813-6710

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