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Mayor Hancock, Councilwoman Kniech Move to Raise the Minimum Wage for Over 100,000 Denver Workers

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Councilwoman Robin Kniech (at-large) today proposed to raise the citywide minimum wage starting this Jan. 1. More than 100,000 residents who live and work in Denver would see higher wages under Denver’s proposal.

“Wage stagnation is a national challenge and has meant pain and a lack of opportunity for too many people for too long,” Mayor Hancock said. “But Denver is leading the way to higher wages and a more inclusive and equitable economy. A raise for Denver's workers would mean families can better support themselves and better afford the city that they helped build.”

“Higher wages aren’t just about making ends meet – economic security improves health outcomes, gives parents more time to spend with their kids, and will improve the overall quality of life for residents,” Councilwoman Kniech said. “This proposal should also help employers attract and keep more workers in a competitive labor market, reducing the costs of turnover.”

Earlier this year, Denver set a higher minimum wage for city employees and contractors. Shortly after, a community coalition worked with the Colorado General Assembly to pass HB19-1210, which authorized local governments to set a citywide minimum wage greater than the state constitutional wage, currently $11.10 an hour and scheduled to go to $12 on Jan. 1.

Utilizing this new authority, Mayor Hancock and Councilwoman Kniech’s proposal would elevate Denver’s minimum wage to $13.80 an hour on Jan. 1, $15.87 on Jan. 1, 2021, and then rise according to the Consumer Price Index each year after that.

HB19-1210 requires any local minimum wages to take effect on Jan. 1 of a given year, and annual increases cannot exceed 15 percent, or $1.75 an hour, whichever is greater. 

See attached public review draft ordinance

The sponsors will conduct robust stakeholder engagement and host several community meetings with other members of City Council throughout October to gather input and feedback on the proposal. Dates, times and locations will be announced in the coming days.

City Council is expected to consider the proposal in November.