720-913-5000 auditor@denvergov.org

Denver Labor

As of January 1, 2020, all workers within the city and county of Denver must be paid the minimum wage. The citywide minimum wage is set at $12.85 for 2020. Employers may reduce their minimum wage obligations by using tip credits. During the 2019 legislative session, the Colorado legislature enacted a new statute permitting local governments to set a jurisdiction-wide minimum wage. In November 2019, the Denver City Council created Denver Revised Municipal Code Chapter 33.7-16, which sets the local minimum wage for Denver and prescribes the means for setting, enforcing, and complying with the new local minimum wage.

Denver’s Prevailing Wage Ordinance (§20-76) requires payment of the prevailing wage on contracts with the City, and is enforced by the Auditor’s Office.

Contractors and subcontractors doing work at or in connection with the operation of any public building or public work on behalf of the City and County of Denver must pay their workers prevailing wage. Prevailing wage is required on  contracts of $2,000 or more for construction, improvement, repair, maintenance, demolition, or janitorial work.

Prevailing Wage Overview (PDF)

During the 2019 legislative session, the Colorado legislature enacted a new statute permitting local governments to set a jurisdiction-wide minimum wage. In November 2019, the Denver City Council created Denver Revised Municipal Code Chapter 33.7-16, which sets the local minimum wage for Denver and prescribes the means for setting, enforcing, and complying with the new local minimum wage.Learn and read more via our Citywide Minimum Wage Overview (PDF).

Beginning July 1, 2019, it’s the law. Denver Revised Municipal Code §20-82 prescribes the city’s minimum wage requirements, “every person or entity that provides any of the following services: concession services; catering services; maintenance services; ramp and cargo services; hospitality services; miscellaneous services; or security services as defined in this division (“covered services”) to the city, or on city property for more than thirty (30) consecutive days in a calendar year, or pursuant to a negotiated contractual requirement, shall pay all covered workers not less than a “city minimum wage” as calculated pursuant to subsection (c) for covered work.”

Learn and read more via our Minimum Wage Overview (PDF)

Prevailing Wage: FAQ

What Are the Prevailing Wage Ordinances?

The following files contain portions of the Denver Revised Municipal Code (DRMC) or ordinances pertaining to Prevailing Wage:

Where Is The List of Who Is Owed Money?

The Auditor’s Prevailing Wage staff ensure that people working on City projects get paid fairly by investigating that City contractors meet the standards of the Prevailing and Living Wage ordinances. If you did work under a City contractor or on Denver-owned property, you might be owed back pay. View the list here

How Can I Learn More About LCP Tracker?

Contractors working on Denver projects are expected to regularly report their payroll information to show compliance with prevailing wage. To do this, we use a system called LCP tracker. Use these tutorials to guide you through the process. View those tutorials here

How Do I Get Started?

All the forms you could need for Prevailing Wage.

What Are Wage Determinations?

The Prevailing Wage section of the Auditor’s Office monitors and enforces compliance with Denver’s prevailing and living wage laws, ensuring that proper wages are paid and work performed is appropriately classified. The most current prevailing wage determinations are on the Prevailing Wage page. Historical prevailing wage determinations can be found in the Archives.

Citywide Minimum Wage: FAQ

When does Minimum Wage Apply?

The new minimum wage applies to all workers performing work after January 1, 2020 within the geographical boundaries of the City and County of Denver. 

What is Denver’s Local Minimum Wage?

Denver’s local minimum wage is:

  • $12.85 from January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020;
  • $14.77 from January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021;
  • $15.87 from January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022; and
  • Increase by the prior year’s increase in the regional consumer price index every year thereafter.
When May Employers Pay an Employee Less Than the Minimum Wage?

An employer can reduce the its minimum wage obligation for actual tips received by its employees up to $3.02 an hour (“tip credit”). During an investigation, an employer may be asked to produce evidence their employees received tips equal to or greater than the tip credit taken by the employer.

Employers of unemancipated minors performing work pursuant to a city certified youth employment program may pay those minors 15% less than the minimum wage.  

Are There Any Exclusions?

Denver’s local minimum wage does not apply to:

  • Work performed outside of Denver;
  • Where an employee works less than 4 hours within Denver in a week; and
  • Where the employee is only traveling through Denver while working.
What Minimum Wage Rate Applies?

The applicable minimum wage is the greater of the applicable prevailing wage, living wage, Denver contractor minimum wage as set in D.R.M.C. §20-84, the local minimum wage as set in D.R.M.C. §33.7-16 or other state or federal for the class of work being performed.

How Do Employers Comply with Denver’s Local Minimum Wage Requirements?

To be compliant, employers must pay their employees the appropriate wage and maintain payroll records for three years.  There is no additional reporting requirement.

Who May Make a Complaint?

Complaints may be submitted by any person or entity. Complaints may be submitted anonymously. In addition, the Auditor’s Office may initiate an investigation based on an employer’s pattern of violations or credible government data.

How Are Minimum Wage Complaints Made?

Individuals who wish to make a complaint related to Denver’s minimum wage may e-mail the Denver Auditor’s Office at wagecomplaints@denvergov.org or call 720-913-5039.

How Are Minimum Wage Complaints Investigated and Resolved?

The Denver Auditor’s Office will investigate all credible complaints submitted. Complaints may be resolved by referral to another agency or mode of remedy. Where the Auditor’s Office finds and investigates a credible compliant, the Auditor’s Office will inform the employer of its investigation and request documentation from the employer demonstrating compliance with minimum wage requirements. When the investigation is complete, an assigned investigator will seek restitution for any underpaid employee and possibly levy fines or inform the complainant and employer no evidence of underpayment was found. Employers must provide the Auditor’s Office evidence of any restitution payment made.    

Employers may not take adverse action against an employee for their involvement in an investigation. Such retaliatory conduct is unlawful and subject to a $5,000 fine.

Are There Penalties for Failing to Comply with Denver’s Minimum Wage Requirements?

For an employer’s first violation, the Auditor may impose a fine of as much as $50 a day for each employee paid less than minimum wage unless the Auditor finds the error was made in good faith and corrected within 30 days.

For an employer’s second and third violations in a three-year period, the Auditor must impose a fine of $1,000 - $2,500 and $10-$75 a day for each employee paid less than minimum wage.  For all violations after the third violation in a three-year period, the Auditor must impose a fine of $2,500 - $5,000 and $50-$100 a day for each employee paid less than minimum wage. 

Where an employer fails to submit certified payroll records or submits false records in response to an investigatory request by the Auditor, the Auditor must fine the employer $1,000. 

Denver Labor Impact

Restitution Stories

Our staff always works hard to get wages recovered for workers protected by Prevailing Wage and Minimum Wage. You can read some of the success stories.

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