Denver Contractor Minimum Wage Increasing to $15/Hour

Published on June 30, 2021

Security guard at security checkpoint

DENVER – Some workers in Denver will make at least $15 per hour starting tomorrow. Denver’s contractor minimum wage increases July 1 from $14 per hour to $15 per hour, while the citywide minimum wage remains at $14.77 through the rest of the year.

“The $15-per-hour mark is an important milestone for the workers of Denver,” Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, said. “More workers are getting jobs at the airport due to expansion and the resurgence of travel, and that means more people guaranteed at least $15 per hour on their next paychecks.”

The contractor minimum wage covers city employees and employees of contractors or subcontractors on city projects. It covers work in concessions, catering, maintenance, ramp and cargo services, hospitality, and security. Most employees impacted by this minimum wage increase work at Denver International Airport.


Other work performed on city property or on city-funded projects is covered by the prevailing wage, which has varying wage rates depending on the work performed. All work within the City and County of Denver that is not on city property or on a city project remains covered by the $14.77 per hour citywide minimum wage rate. The citywide minimum wage increases to $15.87 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022.

“We want to support both businesses and their employees through education and cooperative resolution,” Executive Director of Denver Labor Jeffrey Garcia said. “Our goal is to get workers paid according to the law as fast as possible, and ideally, that means educating employers to ensure correct payment from the beginning in every paycheck.”

The contractor and citywide minimum wage investigations are initiated based on complaints. City contractors who think they may be underpaid can file a complaint with our office in English or Spanish by filling out the complaint form on our website. If other language services are needed, workers may contact us via email at or call 720-913-5039.

Denver Labor enforces the highest of all applicable wage rates — the contractor minimum wage, the citywide minimum wage, the prevailing wage, or the living wage.

“In recent years, my team has made huge strides in getting money in the hands of more workers who earned it according to law,” Auditor O’Brien said. “Education is key to ensuring employers know how to support their workers by paying at least the required wages and to keeping workers informed about their rights.”

Both employers and employees throughout the city are encouraged to join us for our weekly Wages Wednesday presentations on Facebook, where analysts walk through key information about all city wages and take questions live in English or Spanish. Mandatory work site posters are available on our website or by request. Sign up for our monthly email newsletter for the latest Denver Labor updates and other information from our office.

“We’ve been reaching out to both workers and employers who may be affected by the contractor minimum wage increase,” Mr. Garcia said. “Most city contracts should already reflect the wage rate in their budgets and scopes, so this should not be a surprise for businesses working with the city.”

The Denver Auditor’s Office has enforced wage laws through payroll auditing since 1950. In 2015, Auditor O’Brien worked with labor and contractor groups, as well as city leaders, to update the prevailing wage ordinance. The Denver Labor team took on contractor minimum wage enforcement in 2019 and citywide minimum wage enforcement in 2020.

Chart with unpaid wages recovered by Denver Labor since 2013.

This graph shows Denver’s unpaid wages recovered by the labor division of the Denver Auditor’s Office by year. In 2013, $101,905 were recovered. In 2014, $142,977 were recovered. In 2015, $84,232 were recovered. In 2016, $701,787 were recovered. In 2017, $417,271 were recovered. In 2018, $265,243 were recovered. In 2019, $678,559 were recovered. In 2020, $1,017,363 were recovered. In 2021, as of May, $400,000 has been recovered.


Read more about the citywide minimum wage


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