Minimum wage increases in Colorado with the New Year

Effective Jan. 1, the minimum wage in Colorado will increase by 22 cents per hour.

That means minimum wage employees will be paid $8 per hour while tipped minimum wage employees will be paid $4.98 per hour.

This wage raise in accordance with the state constitution that requires the wage be adjusted with inflation.

“In 2006 Colorado voters passed Amendment 42 which ties the minimum wage to the consumer price index. We use a formula that is based on the CPI for all urban consumers,” said spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Cher Haavind.

This is reevaluated each year. Minimum wage can be decreased if inflation decreases, but that rarely happens. Regardless of inflation, the state of Colorado is required to stay at or above the federal minimum wage, Haavind said.

Audrey Danner, interim director of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, said this was a complicated issue.

A full-time minimum wage worker may see about $440 extra (before taxes) from their paycheck each year.

“It’s an important step in balancing wages but will it be enough, and is it just another push on the small business owner? I don’t have that answer,” she said. “I think it’s some of both. It will have an affect on the employee and an affect on the employer.”

Keith Kramer, executive director of Yampa Valley Data Partners, estimated that roughly seven percent of the jobs in Moffat County would be affected by the minimum wage increase.

If only half of the jobs in accommodations, food service and retail were minimum wage or near to it, that would mean 600 jobs would see a wage increase, Kramer said.

“I do think it will affect Craig,” Danner said. “There are many businesses in town that pay minimum wage in town.”

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com.

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