For many of us, the new year signifies the start of a new beginning. However, it can also signify a pay increase for those who make minimum wage in Colorado.
As soon as the first of the year hits, minimum wage will increase from $9.30 to $10.20.
Several businesses in the Grand Valley have already started preparing for the minimum wage increase.
“Every business should be planning for that because we know it’s coming,” said Paul Knaysi, Owner of Pablos Pizza.
Well for employees, we know that means more cash. Yet how exactly will this affect employers?
“As a business, the way you absorb those labor costs are you either cut hours, cut your labor costs, or you raise prices,” said Diane Schwenke with the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce.
Meanwhile, some local restaurants have already hopped on board.
“We are raising our prices just a tiny bit this year,” said Knaysi.
Many local businesses are following this trend. They said by the time minimum wage reaches $12 an hour, expenses may get tough.
“In two more years, we’ll be spending about an extra $150,000 in wages, which is a lot,” said Knaysi.
Yet, not every business owner thinks the increase is necessarily a bad thing.
“I know that if my employees have more money, there’s more money going into the community,” said Barbara Roberts, Co-Owner at Five 60 Salon.
She believes if other people have more money, that’ll mean more business for her salon.
“It can be a good thing if all of our boats rise at the same rate,” she said.
However, those with the Chamber of Commerce said the answer to solving unemployment is not a wage increase.. More so, they believe it’s about making sure youth living in our community further their education.
“We can explore our career options with kids starting at kindergarten. We want to get them into a satisfying career while making a good wage,” said Schwenke.
So while many living in the community have mixed feelings,
“It is the law. People voted on it and employers are going to find a way to implement it,” Schwenke said.
The minimum wage law in Colorado requires a .90 increase every year through 2020, where it will top out at $12 an hour.