Hancock Kniech

Mayor Michael Hancock and Councilwoman Robin Kniech (in white jacket, left of Hancock) announced the city's minimum-wage proposal at a news conference Sept. 19 at the Denver City & County Building.

After the City Council raised the minimum wage this week, Denver Auditor Timothy O’Brien announced that enforcement of that legislation will fall under the enforcement regime known as “Denver Labor,” along with enforcement of prevailing wage and contractor minimum wage requirements.

“Denver Labor will continue efforts for both education and enforcement of all wage law through payroll auditing, wage investigations and outreach,” O’Brien’s office wrote on its website.

Beginning on Jan. 1, wage complaints in any of the three enforcement areas can be submitted via e-mail, Spanish or English web forms, or telephone.

The office explained that Denver Labor will collect money from employers who committed wage theft and attempt to make whole the affected workers. However, if three years pass without successful payment, the money goes into the city’s general fund.

“I am concerned with the setup of this trust fund for money management,” O’Brien said in a statement. “The beneficiaries — the people receiving the money held in this fund — should be the workers, but with a three-year expiration date, the biggest beneficiary seems to be the city’s general fund.”

The auditor’s office began enforcing prevailing wage requirements in the 1950s, and has recovered $665,000 in 2019 in wage theft violations.

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