720-913-5000 auditor@denvergov.org

Citywide Minimum Wage: $12.85

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.

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. 

This page is meant for educational and informational purposes. Nothing on this page alters any party’s rights, duties, or obligations to comply with any law. All parties are encouraged to thoroughly review the law ensure lawful compliance.

Resources and Contact

Resources

All the information you need for Minimum Wage.

Submitting Complaint Forms

Contact Us

CALL: 720-913-5039
EMAIL: wagecomplaints@denvergov.org

    How Enforcement Works

    Understand the process, step by step. 

    Minimum Wage Rules

    Mandatory Site Poster

    Download (PDF)

    Additional Resources and Tools

    Denver Regional Address Finder

    This interactive map is a tool to determine whether a business or work location is within the City and County of Denver. This tool is meant to assist in filing or responding to a complaint. Denver Labor will make a final determination regarding jurisdiction on all investigated complaints.

    Minimum Wage Calculator

    This calculator is a tool to assist employees confirm they are receiving Denver’s minimum wage. The total wages determined are the gross or the employee’s pre- tax and deduction earnings. Please note some exceptions may permit an employer to pay less than the calculated total wages and employers of tipped employees may only reduce hourly wages for actual tips received. If you believe you have not been paid correctly or have questions about the calculator or Denver’s minimum wage, please contact Denver Labor.

     

    Employer Underpayment Calculator

    This spreadsheet (downloadable below) is a tool to determine the amount of backpay owed to current or previous employees. To use the Underpayment Calculator, download the Excel file and enter the relevant payroll information - hours worked, hourly wage paid, and tips earned. The Excel file is available in both English and Spanish. If an underpayment is owed or you have difficulty using the Underpayment Calculator, please contact Denver Labor.

    Download Underpayment Calculator (English | Español)

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