That didn’t take long. Just months after Colorado gave cities the power to set their own minimum wage rates, Denver has done just that.
The Denver City Council in late November 2019 passed an ordinance to increase the city’s minimum wage. The increases start Jan. 1, 2020, with the rate eventually surpassing $15 an hour in 2022. The scheduled increases start on Jan. 1 each year:
- $12.85 in 2020
- $14.77 in 2021
- $15.87 in 2022
In the years following those bumps, annual minimum wage increases in Denver will be tied to the Consumer Price Index. The measure was adopted Nov. 25, 2019.
Denver’s new minimum wage ordinance is expected to impact 90,000 residents. The short timeline between the ordinance’s passage and its effective date means employers need to prepare now for the new rate.
“While Denver’s economy has thrived over the past few years, our economy still does not work for everyone,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said in a statement. “This increase to Denver’s minimum wage will provide a little bit of relief for those who are struggling the most – families who must choose between putting food on the table and paying rent or buying medicine. This is a milestone moment for our city, and I want to thank Councilwoman (Robin) Kniech for her partnership, the members of City Council, and everyone who provided feedback to help improve this measure. This is a proud moment for Denver.”
Colorado Minimum Wage
Last month, GovDocs examined four states where employment laws could see major changes in 2020. Colorado made the list because of a measure passed in the spring of 2019 that repealed a ban on cities setting their own minimum wage rates.
The legislation was aimed at addressing the varying cost of living rates across the state.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s state minimum wage rate will see a 90-cent increase at the start of 2020:
- $8.98 for employees who receive tips
Also, the legislation allowing cities to create their own minimum wage rates stipulates that the increase cannot exceed $1.75 per hour or 15 percent total during any given year.
The federal minimum wage ($7.25) has remained unchanged in a decade.
Since then, cities, counties and states have taken it upon themselves to increase rates. At the outset of 2020, more than 20 states will increase their minimum wage rates.
These changes underscore the difficulty many large companies have when tracking rates across the country. In places like Oregon and Cook County, Ill., determining which minimum wage applies can be even more challenging.
In an era when wage theft and lawsuits are becoming more common, it’s incumbent upon employers to improve their processes and ensure employees are receiving the proper rates.