iStock_000017953455XSmall.jpgEffective January 1, 2012, Colorado’s minimum wage increased by $0.28, from $7.36 per hour to $7.64 per hour (for tipped employees, from $4.34 to $4.62).  This is $0.39 more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.  

The new minimum wage requirement is set forth in Colorado Minimum Wage Order 28 (PDF) now in effect. Because employers in Colorado must comply with both federal (Fair Labor Standards Act) and state (Colorado Wage Act) laws, the higher prevailing wage must be paid to employees.

This $0.28 increase represents the 3.8% increase to the Denver-Boulder-Greeley Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 2010 to 2011. Colorado is one of eight states with a minimum wage tied to inflation. The other states include Arizona, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Colorado’s inflationary adjustment requirement was passed by a relatively close vote on Amendment 42 to the Colorado Constitution in 2006 (823,526 in favor; 721,530 against).

According to the Bell Policy Center in Denver, and as reported by the Denver Post, this year’s minimum wage increase will affect 74,000 workers in Colorado, or 3.4% of Colorado’s workforce.  

More information about the 2012 Colorado minimum wage increase can be found on the Colorado Department of Labor website.