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Minimum wage

Colorado’s minimum wage climbs 90 cents

The minimum wage went up in more than a dozen states on New Year’s Day, although Colorado’s rose more than most.

Thanks to Amendment 70, which voters approved in 2016, the Centennial State’s minimum wage law requires a 90-cent increase every year through 2020, where it will top out at $12 an hour. It jumped from $9.30 to $10.20 on Jan. 1.

The minimum wage for tipped employees rose to $7.18 an hour on Jan. 1. However, if tips combined with wages do not equal the state minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference in cash wages.

After 2020, annual cost-of-living increases will be made to the mandatory minimum wage.

Maine was the only other states where the minimum wage rose any higher, climbing by $1 to $10 an hour.

Washington state had the highest minimum wage as of New Year’s Day: $11.50 an hour.

Missouri’s minimum wage remained unchanged at $7.70 an hour, though Kansas City voters in 2017 overwhelmingly approved a $10 minimum wage. Their push, however, was frozen by the state legislature.

In Kansas, the minimum wage also remained constant at $7.25 per hour.

The Colorado Restaurant Association was against the increased wage, predicting it will cause restaurants to close and create a greater pay disparity between servers and workers in the back of the operation, like dishwashers.

With the federal minimum wage remaining at $7.25 per hour, more states have opted to implement their own, higher rates that local employers must observe. The federal minimum wage hasn’t changed in more than eight years and prevails in any state that doesn’t mandate a higher one.

Voters have approved minimum wage referendums even in more conservative states like Nebraska and South Dakota. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now require a higher minimum wage than the federal one.

About the Author

Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.

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