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On Wednesday November 27, 2019, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock signed an ordinance that requires all private-sector minimum wage employees working in the city of Denver to receive higher incremental minimum wages.

Effective January 1, 2020, minimum wage will increase from the current $11.10 per hour to $12.85 in Denver. It then incrementally increases as follows:

  • $14.77 an hour on Jan. 1, 2021
  • $15.87 an hour on Jan. 1, 2022
  • Annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index each year thereafter.
  • State law requires tipped employees like servers and bartenders can only be paid $3.02 an hour less than the minimum wage. If their tips don’t take them up to the actual minimum wage the employer must pay them in “tip credit make-up”.
  • NOTE – the Colorado minimum wage is increasing to $12.00 per hour effective January 1, 2020

As the state law stands, according to a provision in Colorado’s Fair Labor Standards Act (Section 14(c)), employers are permitted to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage if their disability impairs their earning or productive capacity. 

The amendment makes clear that, unlike the current state law, Denver’s law will require everyone, regardless of ability, to receive at least the minimum wage. Minors enrolled in specific employment programs are the only exception.

In addition to the increase, anyone will be able to submit a minimum wage complaint under the new citywide law starting January 1st, 2020. Complaints can be anonymous. At the start of the year, complaints can be sent to Denver Labor via email at wagecomplaints@denvergov.org

Any current employees working in the city of Denver who are being paid less than the minimum wage will be automatically increased to $12.85 effective January 1, 2020. Any current employees working in Colorado outside of Denver will be bumped up to $12.00 if they are currently earning less than that. Exceptions will be made as per above for tipped employees. Contact your Payroll Specialist or Account Manager with questions.

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