Denver’s minimum wage will increase in 2024

Minimum wage workers will see an increase in pay from $17.29 to $18.29.
2 min. read
Chefs at work, March 1, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Minimum wage workers in Denver will see a dollar increase in pay starting in the new year.

On Jan. 1, minimum wage in the city will increase to $18.29 from $17.29, thanks to a City Council ordinance passed in 2019. Tipped workers will see an increase to $15.27 from $14.27.

The ordinance required that the former minimum wage be raised from $11.10 to $15.87 over the course of three years. That was completed in 2022.

After the three-year period, the ordinance tied minimum wage determinations to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, which measures change in consumer prices based on location. The tie is an effort to ensure wages are in line with the cost of living in the city.

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According to the city's labor website, at the previous wage of $17.29, those who worked 40 hours in a week made $691.60 before taxes. With the increase, the weekly pay turns into $731.60. That would be an annual salary of $38,043, which is below 40% of the area median income.

Denver's minimum wage is higher than the state and neighboring counties, though both are also seeing increases. Colorado state minimum wage is increasing from $13.65 to $14.42. Boulder and Edgewater are joining Denver this year in establishing their own minimum wage. Both are increasing wages from the state limit to $15.59 and $15.02, respectively.

A worker rolls out cookie dough in the back of house at Panaderia Rosales Bakery on 32nd Avenue. April 10, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

According to the 2023 Local Minimum Wage Report by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, since Denver's increased its minimum wage, the city has seen a decrease in unemployment rate in 2021 and 2022. The city has also seen an increase in wage growth and per capita sales tax revenue in comparison to the state as a whole.

Essentially, Denver is recovering from the pandemic faster than the rest of the state and the increase in minimum wage hasn't had an adverse effect on the city's economy, according to the report.

Minimum wage earners who don't see the increase in pay can submit a wage complaint to the Denver's Auditor's Office.

In early 2023, City Council passed an ordinance strengthening worker protections against wage theft. That bill played a role in the city recovering more than $2 million for workers in 2023, a record far surpassing 2022's approximate $1.1 million.

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