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Colorado Employers Could Face Varying Minimum Wage Rates Under Proposed Bill

The Democrat-controlled Colorado General Assembly has introduced a bill that would allow cities to set their own minimum wages.FN1 Colorado law currently prohibits municipalities from setting minimum wages higher than the state rate (currently $11.10 an hour, with an increase to $12.00 an hour in 2020).FN2

Proponents of the bill urge that cities should be permitted to address disparities between localized cost of living and the earning potential of their residents, and point to states in which minimum wages vary from city-to-city.FN3 Opponents claim, among other things, that allowing cities to set their own minimum wages creates hikes in consumer prices, causes labor shortages in areas with lower wage rates, and results in employers cutting hours or positions altogether.FN4

We will keep readers posted on developments.

Footnotes

FN1: HB 19-1210. See https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2019A/bills/2019a_1210_01.pdf

FN2: C.R.S. § 8-6-101 et seq. See https://law.justia.com/codes/colorado/2016/title-8/labor-i-department-of-labor-and-employment/article-6/section-8-6-101/.

FN3: See Colorado Legislation Would Restore Local Power to Raise Minimum Wage, National Employment Law Project, (February 25, 2019), https://www.nelp.org/news-releases/colorado-legislation-restore-local-power-raise-minimum-wage/. States that have enacted similar local minimum wage laws include California, New York, and Arizona. For a survey of local minimum wages compared to state minimum wages, see Impact of the Fight for $15: $68 Billion in Raises, 22 Million Workers, National Employment Law Project, (November 2018), https://s27147.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/Data-Brief-Impact-Fight-for-15-2018.pdf.

FN4: See Ed Sealover, Legislature Advances Bill to Let Colorado Cities Raise Minimum Wage, Denver Business Journal, (Apr. 19, 2018) (concerning 2018 proposed bill).