Colorado proposing statewide minimum wage hike to $12.56 an hour

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DENVER (KDVR) – Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment is proposing a new state minimum wage, which will increase from $12.32 per hour to $12.56 on Jan. 1, 2022.

CDLE’s Division of Labor Standards and Statistics also suggested a minimum wage increase to $9.54 for those receiving enough in tips to meet or exceed the full minimum wage.

Denver’s minimum wage is already higher than the state’s proposal. On Jan. 1, the city started requiring every employer in the City and County of Denver to pay employees at least $14.77 per hour.

Then in June, it was announced contract employees working with the City of Denver will get a pay boost to $15 an hour, while city employees remained at $14.77 per hour. The wage for city employees is set to increase to $15.87 an hour on Jan. 1.

Regarding the minimum wage hike statewide, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Monday, “As we build back better, it’s great to see Colorado workers get a decent raise on the minimum wage to $12.56/hour as our state builds an economy that works for everybody. Investing in upskilling to help workers have the skills needed to earn much more than minimum wage is one of our top priorities, so Colorado can continue to be a place where everyone can thrive.”

This recommendation would mean that full-time minimum wage workers make about $500 more annually.

Adjusting the minimum wage every year is required by the Colorado constitution. Every year, the process begins with publishing proposed rules by late September and is then followed by a comment period that ends with a public hearing on Nov. 1.

Adoption of the proposed new minimum wage needs to be done by Nov. 10. Then, final versions of the new minimum-wage laws take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Last week, the Joint Budget Committee members and Chair Moreno approved a plan put forward by the Polis-Primavera administration and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing that starting Jan. 1, 2022, direct care workers funded with any state dollars working in-home and community-based settings are to receive a minimum wage of $15 per hour. In Colorado, 47% of direct care workers access some form of public assistance to meet their daily needs and 34% are involved with Medicaid, according to the governor’s office.

“That minimum wage thing is making it hard,” Steve Ballas, owner of Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs said. “Because of what’s been going on, in the country and the city of Denver, it’s gonna be hard to hire anybody at $15.77 an hour.”

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