Aug 11, 2022 - News

Denver's minimum wage gets a boost

Chart: Axios Visuals
Chart: Axios Visuals

Starting next year, Denver will join a few dozen cities across the country with a minimum wage above $17 an hour.

Details: The city's minimum hourly wage currently sits at $15.87, but will rise to $17.29 starting Jan. 1, 2023.

Why it matters: This is good news for minimum-wage workers facing rising costs due to inflation, but may further burden business owners feeling the squeeze of high costs.

Context: The hike was mandated by a bill signed in 2019 boosting overall pay for local workers.

  • The law requires that the city use the consumer price index to determine new wages for 2023.
  • The new wages were determined by using the bill's language, as the city's finance department found the consumer price index for the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area was 8.94%.

The big picture: The new, increased wages mean Denver’s hourly rate is nearly $5 more than the state's current minimum of $12.56 — though the state’s minimum wage is also expected to increase by at least one dollar in 2023.

Between the lines: The minimum wage for tipped service industry workers will be $14.27 an hour, provided they earn at least $3.02 in tips, according to a release from the city's finance department.

What they're saying: "For the majority of independent restaurants, if not all, this makes zero sense," Juan Padro, founder of the Culinary Creative Group, told BusinessDen.

  • The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce in a statement similarly pushed back against the hike, claiming that wages tied to the consumer price index will lead businesses to increase prices.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Colorado's minimum wage will also be increasing in 2023.


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