City of Denver to Slow Minimum Wage Proposal

After much opposition from small businesses, restaurants, retailers, and the Colorado Chamber, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced this week that a proposal to fast-track the city’s minimum wage hike would be slowed to phase in over more time.

Originally, the plan would have increased the minimum wage from its current rate of $11.10 to $15.87 per hour by January 2021, an increase of $4.77 per hour in just 15 months. The Colorado Chamber raised serious concerns about the rapid timeline and urged city officials to give businesses more time, cautioning that it could negatively impact employers, employees an consumers.

Under the new timeline proposed by the Mayor’s office, the minimum wage would instead be increased to $15.87 in January 2022, giving businesses an additional year to adjust to the changes.

 Previous Proposed Timeline

New Proposed Timeline

$13.80/hour in January 2020$12.85/hour in January 2020
$15.87/hour in January 2021$14.77/hour in January 2021
$15.87/hour in January 2022


The proposal comes after the state legislature passed HB 1210 this year, which for the first time allows localities to raise the minimum wage within their jurisdictions. But as part of a compromise when the bill passed, lawmakers created a stakeholder engagement process meant to prevent cities from raising their local rates until January 2021. The City of Denver is fast-tracking their proposal by implementing their initial wage rate increase in January of 2020.

While the Colorado Chamber remains concerned that this action defies the intent of the legislature by increasing the minimum wage in January 2020, we appreciate the efforts of Mayor Hancock and certain city council members to be receptive to the business community’s needs.

The proposal is expected to be considered by the Denver City Council later this month. For more information on the Mayor’s proposal, click here.