DENVER – The minimum wage in Denver is going up in 2023 to adjust for the rise in the Consumer Price Index, officials with the city’s Department of Finance said Tuesday.
The minimum wage will increase to $17.29 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2023, and $14.27 an hour for restaurant and bar servers provided they earn at least $3.02 in actual tips.
The minimum wage hike is tied to the increase of the Consumer Price Index, which the city’s department of finance determined to be 8.94% for the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area, and comes from an ordinance passed by Denver City Council and signed into law by Mayor Michael Hancock in late 2019.
“At a time when inflation and rising costs are impacting working families everywhere, this increase in our minimum wage, which is based on the Consumer Price Index, will help those who need it most,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said in a prepared statement. “We know this will put additional burdens on our local businesses, but this is an important tool to support vulnerable workers across the city.”
Denver will become one of several cities in the country to pay workers a starting salary above $17 an hour in 2023, department officials say. The current minimum wage in Denver is $15.87 an hour.
“CPI increases are used in the vast majority of state and local minimum wages across the country,” said Denver City Councilwoman At-Large Robin Kniech, one of the sponsors of the 2019 ordinance, in a prepared statement. “They are designed to do just what this increase will for Denver workers: help them keep up with the cost of living rather than falling behind as prices increase.”
The Mile High City was the first one throughout the state to propose – and pass – a minimum wage hike after Colorado lawmakers passed a law that gave cities as well as counties the power to set their own minimum wages.
Some in the education sector will also see a minimum wage increase this year, next
Tuesday's announcement from the city comes about two weeks after at least two Denver metro school districts announced they’ll begin paying some of their employees more starting this fall and in 2023.
Denver Public Schools announced on July 28 it will begin paying paraprofessionals a minimum wage of $20 an hour starting Aug. 1, 2022, with all employees getting that pay bump by the 2024-2025 school year.
At Jeffco Public Schools, paraeducators, custodians, bus drivers, secretaries, food service workers and more will see their minimum pay go up to $18 an hour by September 2023.