The State of Colorado's compensation philosophy is to provide competitive compensation in order to recruit, retain, and motivate a qualified workforce.

Innovative Total Compensation

It is the policy of the State to provide innovative total compensation that meets or exceeds total compensation provided by public or private sector employers or a combination of both, to officers and employees in the state personnel system to ensure the recruitment, motivation, and retention of a qualified and competent workforce. The State of Colorado's compensation philosophy is defined in C.R.S. 24-50-104. Total compensation is a combination of base salary and all employee benefits. This includes both direct and indirect compensation.

  • Direct compensation refers to an employee's annual base salary. It does not include shift differential, overtime pay or call-back pay. For the purpose of this report annual base salary is analyzed using the average of actual salaries (not salary ranges).
  • Indirect compensation refers to compensation that is not paid directly to an employee. Indirect compensation includes medical, dental, disability, life insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, retirement, as well as additional benefits identified for employees.

The Department of Personnel & Administration, Division of Human Resources is responsible for setting and maintaining the State of Colorado compensation plans and follows the annual compensation timeline below.

Annual Employee Compensation Cycle

October 1

In accordance with C.R.S. 24-50-104(4), on or before October 1, 2022, and on or before October 1 of each year thereafter, the State Personnel Director is required to submit recommendations and estimated costs for state employee compensation for the next fiscal year, covering salaries, State contributions for group benefit plans, and merit pay, to the Governor and the Joint Budget Committee of the General Assembly. 

On October 1, 2025, and on October 1 of each fourth year thereafter, the State Personnel Director shall prepare and publish a quadrennial compensation report based on the analysis of surveys conducted. The purpose of the quadrennial compensation report shall be to reflect all adjustments necessary to maintain the salary structure, State contributions for group benefit plans, and merit pay. The State Personnel Director shall also include a detailed analysis of salary ranges for all employees in the state personnel system and how employees’ salaries are distributed within these ranges.


Following the legislative process, the State Personnel Director announces the final compensation plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

July 1

Implementation of the Annual Compensation Plan occurs at the beginning of the fiscal year.


For more details, see the document: Total Compensation Timeline.

2024 Colorado Minimum Wage

Effective January 1, 2024

  • Minimum Wage: $14.42
  • Tipped Employee Minimum Wage: $11.40

Effective July 1, 2024

  • State Employee Minimum Wage: $16.22