Colorado Minimum Wage

Colorado minimum wage is set by the state constitution for both tipped and non-tipped employees. The current Colorado minimum wage from 2016-2020 is set by Amendment 70 to the Colorado constitution. It established an annual increase in the Colorado minimum wage each year until 2021 when the minimum wage becomes tied to the CPI. (Consumer Price Index.) Employees who are not exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay provisions must be paid minimum wage for each hour worked plus overtime pay when applicable. If your employer fails to pay you the state minimum wage then you should talk to an unpaid wage attorney in Denver, Colorado right away.

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Colorado minimum wage chart

What is the new Colorado minimum wage?

Under Amendment 70 approved by voters in 2016 the Colorado minimum wage will rise to $12 hourly in 2020 with a $0.90 increase each year from 2016 to 2020. The Colorado state constitution amendment prohibits cities from enacting a higher minimum wage.

For non-tipped hourly employees, the Colorado minimum wage increase schedule:

  • Colorado minimum wage 2016: $8.31
  • Colorado minimum wage 2017: $9.30
  • Colorado minimum wage 2018: $10.20
  • Colorado minimum wage 2019: $11.10
  • Colorado minimum wage 2020: $12.00

In 2021 the minimum wage in Colorado will tie to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) with the requirement that it cannot fall in years the CPI decreases.

Tipped employees receive $3.02 less per hour for minimum wage than other employees. Tipped employees earn less in an hourly wage than other minimum wage workers because they receive tips. The employer can choose to deduct a $3.02 tip credit for each hour of tipped work. The Colorado minimum wage for tipped employees follows a similar schedule:

  • 2016: $5.29
  • 2017: $6.28
  • 2018: $7.18
  • 2019: $8.08
  • 2020: $8.98


Minimum wage Colorado annual salary

Employees who earn the minimum wage in Colorado in 2018 will earn $21,216.00 if they work forty hours each week of the year. The annual salary of most minimum wage employees in Colorado will range from a much lower number to a much higher number. Minimum wage employees include workers who work a few hours each week. It also includes workers who work in excess of forty hours weekly and receive overtime pay.

What is the federal minimum wage in 2017 and 2018?

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 for non-tipped employees and $2.13 for tipped employees. Federal minimum wage is set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its amendments. Currently Congress has not passed legislation to increase the federal minimum wage for 2018. Tipped employees suffer a much larger tip credit under the FLSA than Colorado employment law.

States like Colorado can choose to enact higher minimum wages than the federal minimum wage. Many states amended their constitutions or passed laws raising the minimum wage. Other states follow the FLSA and do not increase minimum wage beyond the federal wage. Employers must pay the highest applicable minimum wage for its employees.

What to do if your employer does not pay the Colorado minimum wage?

If your employer fails to pay the Colorado minimum wage and overtime pay, if applicable, then you should contact unpaid wages attorneys. Employees in Colorado may file an administrative wage complaint with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. There are several reasons why you should contact Colorado unpaid wages attorneys if your employer fails to pay minimum wage.

  1. You may have claims beyond your unpaid minimum wage claim that you should pursue at the same time.
  2. An unpaid wages attorney may be a more effective advocate for your claim in any venue.
  3. In some cases you can recover attorney’s fees in a lawsuit for non-payment of the Colorado minimum wage.
  4. Your employer may consider retaliation for filing an unpaid wage claim or lawsuit. Knowing you have a lawyer on your side may help deter the employer from creating a new claim against you.

Colorado minimum wage increases