A Boulder County, Colo., minimum wage ordinance was recently passed, and it’s yet another local jurisdiction to create its own rate.
As a reminder, a few years ago Colorado gave cities and counties the power to set their own minimum wage rates. Denver minimum wage followed shortly thereafter, and earlier this year the city of Edgewater created its own minimum wage rate.
The law in Boulder County — which has a population of more than 300,000 people — will see the first new rate go into effect Jan. 1, 2024. It will eventually push the county’s minimum wage to $25 in 2030.
Also of note, the new Boulder County minimum wage does not apply to incorporated towns and cities in the county.
Minimum Wage Management. Simplified.
Boulder County, Colo., Minimum Wage
Passed in November 2023, the new minimum wage ordinance applies to nearly every employer in the unincorporated areas of Boulder County.
Employees are defined as those performing, or expecting to perform, four or more hours a week for an employer.
Unlike some other jurisdictions, Boulder County’s minimum wage increases aren’t set at round numbers. Rates will increase on Jan. 1 each year. They are as follows:
- 2024 – $15.69
- 2025 – $16.57
- 2026 – $17.99
- 2027 – $19.53
- 2028 – $21.21
- 2029 – $23.03
- 2030 – $25
After that point, rates will increase based on the applicable Consumer Price Index.
How Many States Have a $15 Minimum Wage?
Meanwhile, Boulder County employers of food and beverage workers will be able to take a tip credit up to $3.02. Those employees are defined as those who work for “any business or enterprise that prepares and offers for sale food or beverages for consumption either on or off an employer’s physical premises.”
Lastly, employers should remember the other rates in Colorado, including the state itself, as well as Denver and Edgewater.
County and City Minimum Wage Rates – Jan. 1, 2024
Managing Minimum Wage Rates
The news out of Boulder County highlights the ongoing challenges for large employers when it comes to managing minimum wage rates.
With no activity at the federal level, smaller levels of government are stepping in to create new laws. It extends beyond minimum wage, as well, with paid leave (and the continual amendments to existing laws), adding to the compliance concerns for employers. And all these laws add up to additional labor law poster requirements.
In fact, the number of local labor law poster requirements swelled from 115 mandatory updates in 2017 to 188 in 2022.
At the same time, the variety of minimum wage laws also continues to grow. Just recently, there’s a new California $20 minimum wage for fast food workers. (California also has cities with specific rates for hotel workers.) And there are several jurisdictions with different rates based on employer size or annual revenue.
Plus, the Fight for $15 has evolved into the Fight for $20 as a new minimum wage push, and indexing has become more common as many jurisdictions’ scheduled minimum wage increased have changed to going up based on the applicable Consumer Price Index.
All this adds up to major hurdles for employers trying to manage minimum wage.
State Minimum Wage Rates 2024
Employers with locations in Boulder County, Colo., should ensure they review the ordinance to maintain compliance.
As a reminder, the first rate increase goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.