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DENVER (KDVR) — Starting Jan. 1, every employer in the City and County of Denver must pay their employees at least $14.77 per hour, with few exceptions.

“This is a truly challenging time for businesses, and I want to work with them to find ways to keep their employees paid according to the law,” Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, said. “My goal isn’t to penalize employers who make honest mistakes but instead to raise awareness and keep the city’s workers paid during this time of economic hardship.”

In 2019, Denver City Council set the annual minimum wage rate adjustments in 2019 after meeting with community and business groups and after holding several community town halls. The citywide minimum wage first took effect in 2020 and applies to any work performed within the boundaries of the city and county.

Employers in the food and beverage industry can claim up to $3.02 per hour as “tip credits,” but they must be able to produce documentation that their employees were paid at least that amount in actual tips. This tip credit rate is based on the state of Colorado’s rate.

“My office’s focus on education and outreach will help workers know their rights and employers stay in compliance by paying people correctly the first time around,” Auditor O’Brien said. “My team of hardworking analysts are ready to collaborate with employers and answer any questions.”

If employers or workers are unsure whether the citywide minimum wage applies to them, they can check their work address using the City of Denver’s online map. The wage rate applies to all work performed within the City and County of Denver, regardless of where a business’s main office is.

As of Jan. 1, 2021, the citywide minimum wage is higher than the contractor minimum wage and some prevailing wage rates. That will change again on July 1, 2021, when the contractor minimum wage rate goes up to $15 per hour. See the chart below to track wage rates and when they increase over time.