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Denver to hold a public meeting about youth minimum wage exemption

The drafted program aims to provide career skill training for youth.

DENVER — Denver invites the public to comment on a draft to allow employers to pay youth employees 15% less than the minimum wage given they are offered career skill training on the job, a news release from Denver Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO) said.

The meeting is virtual and takes place on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. on Microsoft Teams. 

> Join the meeting on Microsoft Teams here. 

Employers looking to hire minors at a reduced minimum wage need to obtain certification as a Certified Youth Employment Program under one of the categories listed on the draft, 

> The video above aired Nov. 2, about Aurora voting on $17 minimum wage proposal.


Employers who can demonstrate they are employing minors who are actively participating in a recognized school-based training program (apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, work-based learning, etc.) may receive approval. School-based programs have a demonstrable connection to an educational institution, either teaching or counseling staff, engaged in program operations and oversight.


To be eligible, employers must demonstrate minors are working toward gaining an independently recognized credential. Hours spent in credentialing activities outside the work being performed for the job must be paid.

After completing the program, with success, employers are encouraged to begin paying the minor at full or higher than the minimum wage. 

The accreditation for employers last for 12 months, the draft says. 

> Read the full draft here before the meeting. 

This draft comes after the city passed an ordinance that went into effect on Jan 1.

RELATED: Denver mayor signs minimum wage increase into law

"DEDO worked with area employers, the City Attorney’s Office and the Denver Auditor’s Office to develop a program that would, through a monitored certification process, allow some youth to earn less than minimum wage provided that the position and the employer meet program guidelines," DEDO said.

Public comment on the proposed program extends to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23, DEDO said. Anyone who cannot attend can also send comments to workforce.development@denvergov.org or by mail to Youth Minimum Wage Program, DEDO/Denver Workforce Services, 101 W. Colfax, Suite 850, Denver, CO 80202. 

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