Tags: Minimum Wage | minimum wage | colorado | living wage

What's the Difference Between Minimum Wage and Living Wage in Colorado?

By    |   Friday, 04 Mar 2016 04:48 PM

Across the country, people debate over the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage rate was established to fight poverty, but many still lament the struggles of the working poor — people working at least 40 hours per week who are still unable to meet basic human needs.

Although Colorado's minimum wage may seem generous to some, workers cannot support themselves at these rates. Most depend on family support, or they combine households to offset expenses.

The Colorado Division of Labor passed the Colorado Minimum Wage Order No. 32, which raised the minimum wage in Colorado to $8.31 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2016, a little more than a dollar above the federally mandated rate of $7.25.

The adjustment was made by Colorado to recognize that the state's cost of living exceeded other states.

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The United States government has been establishing the minimum wage rate since 1938, when they passed laws in which American laborers would make no less than 25 cents per hour.

The federal rate has been raised over the years, and Colorado worked under the national mandate until the 2007 increase, when the Colorado lawmakers established an in-state minimum wage of $6.85 per hour — 30 cents more than the new federal minimum wage.

The minimum wage allowed by both federal and Colorado law the previous year was $5.15 per hour, which had been in place since 1997.

Persons working in Colorado jobs where tips constitute a portion of their income will receive a minimum of $5.29 per hour from their employers, and employers are expected to make up differences when total income falls below the state minimum wage.

VOTE NOW: Is Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Doing a Good Job?

Does the minimum wage guarantee a reasonable standard of living? A study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculated living wage rates for all the U.S. counties and territories.

Living wage rates reflect the income needed by individuals who are the sole providers for their families.

MIT researchers determined that a single adult needs to earn $10.69 per hour to meet the cost of living in the state. A family of two adults and three children need their provider to earn $18.49 per hour.

Cost of living considers expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical care and other incidentals.

The report also provides specific living wage rates, listed by county and by metropolitan areas, where differences in housing and other costs are considered. For example, the rate to live in the greater Denver area is about 10 cents higher than the average rate for all of Colorado.

Vote Now: How Do You Feel About the Minimum Wage?

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Although Colorado's minimum wage may seem generous to some, workers cannot support themselves at these rates. Most depend on family support, or they combine households to offset expenses.
minimum wage, colorado, living wage
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2016-48-04
Friday, 04 Mar 2016 04:48 PM
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