Denver’s minimum wage will increase, but you’ll have to wait until January 2023

A higher consumer price index triggered an increase to $17.29 per hour.

Denver's City and County Building. Aug. 10, 2021. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver's City and County Building. Aug. 10, 2021. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

An increase in the Consumer Price Index has triggered a boost to Denver’s local minimum wage.

The Denver Department of Finance says the local minimum wage will increase to $17.29 starting January 1, 2023. That’s up from the current hourly rate of $15.87.

“We know this will put additional burdens on our local businesses,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement Tuesday. “But this is an important tool to support vulnerable workers across the city.”

A 2019 city ordinance unanimously passed by city council ties the city’s minimum wage to the CPI. Officials say it’s part of an effort to make sure wages keep up with the local cost of living. And Hancock said the new wage will help those struggling with inflation.

The CPI for Denver-Aurora-Lakewood was 8.94 percent in the first half of 2022, according to Denver’s Department of Finance, equaling the $1.42 increase. State legislation requires minimum wage changes to take effect January 1, and the city used the midyear CPI in order to meet the deadline.

“CPI increases are used in the vast majority of state and local minimum wages across the country,” Councilwoman Robin Kniech said. “They are designed to do just what this increase will do for Denver workers: help them keep up with the cost of living rather than falling behind as prices increase.”

As part of the increase, the minimum wage for tipped food and beverage workers will go up to $14.27 per hour if they earn at least $3.02 in actual tips. A minimum wage credit is available to for employers if they can prove an employee didn’t receive that amount.

The ordinance went into effect January 1, 2020. Minimum wage went from $11.10 to $15.87 in 2022 s part of the previous increase.

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