Hancock Kniech

Mayor Michael Hancock and Councilwoman Robin Kniech (in white jacket, left of Hancock) announced the city's minimum-wage proposal at a news conference Sept. 19 at the Denver City & County Building.

Denver residents who feel strongly about the city raising its minimum wage will have opportunities to share their thoughts.

Mayor Michael Hancock and Councilwoman Robin Kniech proposed Sept. 19 that the minimum wage in Denver be raised to $15 by 2021. The plan would be to raise the wage to $13.80 an hour on Jan. 1, 2020, then $15.87 on Jan. 1, 2021. 

“Wage stagnation is a national challenge and has meant pain and a lack of opportunity for too many people for too long,” 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.”

Around 100,000 Denver residents would be impacted by the increase, and the City Council will consider the proposal in November.

Prior to that, the city will hold six community town halls to gather input and feedback on the proposal, according to a release Friday.

The first will be held at the Southwest Community Town Hall on Oct. 2 at 5:30 p.m. The full list of scheduled town halls and locations can be found on the city website.

The head of the Colorado Restaurant Association has expressed concern that the proposal will necessitate increases in the costs of menu items, as well as raise the income disparity among restaurant staff.

“The restaurant industry is facing a crisis already," Riggs said. "The earnings gap between the front of the house and the back of the house is already significant. Anytime we see a minimum wage increase, that gap widens.”

Kniech said that the wage increase is the most effective option to help Denver residents pay for housing costs.

"Ultimately, only growing wages can really help folks keep up," she said. "I am excited to be working on a wage proposal that can help families earn more, be stable in our city, spend more time with their kids — all of those things."

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