2024 Step Pay Program for State of Colorado Employees

On July 1, 2024, the State will implement the Step Pay Program for eligible classified employees in the State Personnel System. The Step Pay Program addresses pay equity issues, alleviates pay compression, reduces bias, and addresses employee pay progression through the pay range based on time in job series. 

Step pay increases within job class pay ranges for classified employees who work at Executive Branch agencies or Institutions of Higher Education take effect July 1, 2024, as long as the job series milestone is met by June 30, 2024, and the employee’s base salary is below the minimum salary for the step increment based on their time in job series. An official preliminary notice of your placement in pay grade for your job classification will be provided to you by March 31, 2024. Please check your contact information in Employee Self Service, or department's or institution's system. Update your information as needed or contact your agency’s HR office for assistance.

IMPORTANT: Implementation of the Step Pay Program and the proposed FY 2024-25 Step Pay Plan will not occur unless the Legislature approves the budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year. For any questions regarding step placement, please reference the FAQs below.

Step Pay Estimator


Web Version

Use This Version If: You want to quickly run an estimate and print your results.

System Requirements

  • JavaScript-Enabled Browser
  • Modern Web Browser (Google Chrome Recommended)

If you encounter an error while accessing the tool above, please use the archived Step Pay Estimator. Note: You must be signed in to a State of Colorado Google account to use the archived version.

Microsoft Excel Version

Use This Version If: You do not have a JavaScript-enabled browser or you would like to run or save multiple estimates. 

System Requirements:

  • Microsoft Excel (2016+)


Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Step Pay Plan is proposed and the funding has not yet been approved. At this time, there are many questions about the proposed Step Pay Plan that cannot be definitively answered. These FAQs will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

The State of Colorado and COWINS came together in the fall of 2022 to negotiate wages, per the partnership agreement. In those negotiations, the Parties agreed that the new step program would be based on time in job series.


What is a Step Pay Program?
In general, a Step Pay Program is a step rate-compensation structure that presents the pay range for each job classification in increments (steps) and which may provide increases to an employee’s salary over time.
What is the proposed FY 2024-25 Step Pay Plan?
The proposed FY 2024-25 Step Pay Plan for the State Personnel System is a listing of all job classifications and the corresponding pay range with base salary amounts for one year up to 30 years of time (steps) in associated job series. Based on total time in their job series, a current employee’s salary may increase to the appropriate step within the pay range for their class title (if their current base rate is not already above their step). The FY 2024-25 Step Pay Plan is still considered a proposal because the funding must be approved by the General Assembly. The funding request will be in the Nov. 1, 2023 budget submission. If the funding is approved by the General Assembly, the FY 2024-25 Step Pay Plan is final and will be implemented on July 1, 2024.
What is the timeline for step pay implementation?

Upon the approval of a funding request by the General Assembly, the implementation of the Step Pay Program began in the Spring of 2023, and has continued into FY 2023-24. A more detailed timeline will be provided in the near future.

What does time in job series mean?

Time in job series means an employee’s total number of years, as of June 30, 2024, occupying a position in their job classification or classifications within a job series, excluding temporary assignments. A job series, sometimes referred to as class series or job class series, is a group of similar positions, such as Accountants, Client Care Aides, and Nurses. Within each series, there are different levels of job classifications. For example, in the Accountant job series, the classifications are Accountant I, Accountant II, Accountant III and Accountant IV. If an employee has held positions as an Accountant I, was then promoted to an Accountant II position, then later promoted to an Accountant III, all of the time spent in those classifications would count as time in the Account job series. However, if the employee was an Accountant I before being promoted to an Analyst III position, and later moved to an Accountant III position, then only the time spent as an Accountant I and Accountant III would count toward the step increase because the Analyst III position is in a different job series altogether. Employees can view their current job series by going to the DHR job classifications website and clicking on the classification description for their current job title.

Why was time in job series selected as the metric to determine step placement rather than overall tenure with the State?

The State of Colorado and COWINS came together in the fall of 2022 to negotiate wages, per the partnership agreement. In those negotiations, the Parties agreed that the new step program would be based on time in job series.

How do employees locate their current pay rate?

Employees must be logged into VPN or on a computer a State office location to log into Employee Self Service (ESS) to locate their most recent, regular pay stub. Employees will need their Employee ID and password to log in. Employees’ most current, normal pay stub provides the pay rate.

  • Monthly and Biweekly Pay Rate: locate the EARNINGS section on the pay stub. In the REGULAR Earnings line, the Gross Amount is listed as the pay rate that should be entered in the estimator (this is FTE adjusted for part-time employees).
  • Hourly Pay Rate: locate the EARNINGS section of the pay stub. In the REGULAR Earnings line, divide the Gross Amount by the Hours listed. This is the full, regular, hourly rate.
Are all classified employees in the state personnel system eligible for step pay?

All classified employees are eligible, except employees in positions classified under the Medical Pay Plan. Employees in the Medical Pay Plan are compensated based solely on performance as established in the required annual contract to be negotiated by July 1 of the contract year, or within thirty (30) days of hire or movement within the Medical Pay Plan for the remainder of the contract year. Medical Pay Plan employees are not eligible for any other pay adjustments including the Across the Board (ATB) increases. Employees with base salaries higher than the salary for the step increment for their time in job series are not eligible for a step increase. However, they are eligible for ATB.

If an employee's base salary is above the amount listed for step placement, will the employee’s base pay be reduced to the salary for the step based on their time in job series?

No, the employee’s salary will not be reduced. They will receive the 3% ATB July 1, 2024 if funded by the General Assembly.

Will time in job series include the time in class series that have been consolidated or deconsolidated?

Yes. The Division of Human Resources is working on the modeling and processes that will define the series changes over the years, including giving appropriate credit before and after the General Professional series and other job series changes that have occurred. Time served in both the old classification or title and the new classification or title will be combined for purposes of step progression.

If employees are eligible for a step increase and the 3% ATB is also approved for FY 2024-25, will they receive both?

Yes, ATB will be applied first to employees’ base salaries followed by placement on the appropriate base salary for the step increment based on their time in job series.

How does step pay affect employees with 25 years time in series or more?

Placement in the new pay plan will be based on time in job series. Someone with 25 years time in job series will be placed higher in the pay range on the 25-year step than someone with less years time in series. Employees with more than 25 years of service receive ATB as a base building increase up to the pay range maximum of the pay range for their job class.

What if an employee’s job title changed, but the job class did not, do they get credit for the years in the same job series?

Yes, because job titles may be different from the job classification. For example, HR Specialist III positions may have a job title of “Compensation Analyst”, ”Labor Relations Specialist” or “Benefits Specialist.”

What if an employee left State employment and returned to the same classification in the same job series prior to their departure, is the time previously served counted for time in job series?

Yes, the time in the previous job series will count if it is the same job series the employee returned to. Time in job series is cumulative and does not require continuous time in the job series.

If an employee was promoted to a different class in a different job series and the prior job class and job series were substantially related, will the employee receive credit for time in the prior series for step placement?

The employee will only receive credit for related job series if they had time in one of the following job classifications and applicable job series before promoting to their current class series.


DPA’s Division of Human Resources plans to reach out to State agencies and Institutions of Higher Education to obtain additional information for employees who have time in one of the aforementioned job classifications and corresponding job series to determine if the time will count toward their current class series.

What is expected of agencies to implement step pay for their employees?

DPA is working on processes, criteria, and training regarding necessary data cleanup and validations of data. Agencies will be responsible for exception research and clarification to support July 1, 2024 implementation. Operational support funding to implement steps was approved last legislative session and more information including the project plan will be provided to agencies as it becomes available.

Are non-classified staff who fall under the Executive Pay Plan, like Public Information Officer, Executive Assistant, Senior Executive Service, etc. eligible for step pay?

No, step pay is only for classified employees in the State Personnel System. However, these employees will receive ATB, if funded by the General Assembly.

Does step pay apply to other non-classified employees in the executive branch, excluding Institutions of Higher Education?

Non-classified staff would be eligible for any approved ATB increase. DPA’s Division of Human Resources will be available to provide information and guidance on additional pay adjustments for non-classified staff when a determination can be better made on what the General Assembly may or may not approve.


Helpful Definitions

  • Base Pay - An employee’s salary without premium pay. Synonymous with base salary.
  • Classification or Class - A group of positions whose essential character (general nature of the work and responsibilities) warrants the same pay grade, classification title, and similar qualifications for entry into the class. 
  • Class Conversion - Automatic movement of a current title and grade to a new title and grade. 
  • Class Description - The official written description of a class series and its levels as issued by the Department of Personnel. 
  • Class Placement - Portion of a system maintenance study in which all affected positions are individually placed in the proper new class. 
  • Class Series - A group of classes engaged in similar occupational work but representing different levels. Exception: time in trainee class series in occupational groups is included for time in targeted class series.
  • Job Series - Means the same as “class series”. 
  • Pay Grade - Reflects the minimum and maximum base salary rates for work in a specific class. Individual salaries vary within the ranges depending on individual movements in accordance with these provisions. Synonymous with pay level, range, or band. 
  • Pay Plans - Listing of all pay grades and their corresponding ranges for occupational groups. 
  • Pay Plan (Medical) - The pay plan that applies to classified positions in specific class series within the Health Care Services Occupational Group. The statutory lid for the class series pay ranges is greater than the general statutory lid. Employees occupying these positions are compensated based solely on performance as established in the required annual contract.
  • Pay Rate - Actual base pay or salary amount.
  • Total Years in Job Series or Time-in-Job Series - An employee’s total number of years occupying a position in a job classification or job classifications within a job series, excluding temporary assignments.