Contract laborers for the city of Denver will see a $1 increase in their hourly minimum wage, to now $14, beginning on Wednesday.
Denver Auditor Timothy O’Brien’s office announced that the raise will affect 5,700 workers. The change will affect construction flaggers, traffic controllers, landscape laborers, security guards and parking lot attendants, among others. The contract wage for city-funded projects is different from Denver’s minimum wage, which is $12.85 per hour.
“A pay increase for some of the most vulnerable workers in the city couldn’t come at a more necessary time,” O’Brien said. “People need every dollar they can get in their paychecks — and this is one cost the city can cover.”
Most of the covered contractors work at Denver International Airport. The contractor wage took effect last year, prior to the state legislature allowing broader local minimum wage increases. O’Brien said his office will use education first, but will take enforcement action against contractors if necessary if they do not follow the law.
Through April 30, the auditor’s office reports recovering $700,000 in wages owed to workers, greater than the $679,000 recovered in all of 2019.
On July 1, 2021, the contract wage will again rise to $15 per hour. The state's minimum wage, by contrast, is $12 and will adjust for cost-of-living increases in the future.