Some States are Allowing Cities to set Unique Minimum Wages

Increasingly more states are legally disallowing local governments from passing ordinances requiring employers to pay a local minimum wage. If you have employees in Arizona, California, New Mexico, or Wyoming, your local government may increase minimum wages. If you have employees in Utah, the local governments cannot do this.

In May of 2019, Colorado’s Local Government Minimum Wage Bill was signed by the Governor.  The bill allows the state’s counties and cities to establish and create their own minimum wage rates. In September, Denver became the first municipality in Colorado to take steps to do so when Denver Mayor Michael Hancock unveiled a proposal to raise minimum pay for workers in Denver to over $15.00 per hour by 2021.

The new Colorado law allows local government to increase their minimum wage annually by 15 percent or $1.75 per hour, whichever is greater. If the Mayor’s proposal is approved, the first step of Denver’s minimum wage increase will occur on January 1, 2020, where non-tipped workers in Denver would need to earn at least $13.80 per hour. A second increase would occur in 2021 and would bring minimum wages to $15.87 per hour.

The Mayor’s office anticipates the change would affect more than 100,000 workers in Denver. Mayor Hancock and Councilwoman At-Large Robin Kniech recently completed a six-week public comment process on this proposal, and the proposal now enters a four-week council debate process. The city will hold two public meetings on the proposal with the second meeting to be held just before the final hearing on Monday, November 25, 2019.

Colorado’s statewide minimum wage is currently $11.10 per hour and will increase to $12.00 per hour on January 1, 2020. Arizona’s minimum wage will increase from $11.00 to $12.00 per hour in 2020; this applies to all employees in Arizona, except Flagstaff. The minimum wage in Flagstaff, Arizona, increases to $13.00 per hour on January 1, 2020. Utah’s minimum wage will continue to reflect the federal minimum wage, which has been set at $7.25 per hour since 2009.

Should the Denver city council vote to approve the new Denver minimum wage, Utah adopt a similar law, or an Arizona city make a change, Employers Council will be sure to alert you to the change(s).