Hancock considering $15 an hour minimum wage for Denver employees

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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

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DENVER — Mayor Michael Hancock is considering an increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour to be phased in over several years for Denver employees and those who work for businesses that operate in city facilities.

The mayor’s office said Tuesday the total comes to about 1,900 people.

“While unemployment is low and Denver’s economy is among the strongest in the country, wage growth has not kept pace with a rising cost of living,” Hancock said in a statement.

“Lower- and middle-income workers are struggling to get by. I’ve been meeting with many employees and listened to stories and experiences. I believe we have an opportunity here to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

The city’s Department of Finance has been directed to look at increasing starting pay for city, contractor, vendor and tenant employees.

The review will include outreach to community stakeholders, private-sector partners and employees, the mayor’s office said.

The findings and recommendations will be presented to Hancock in early 2019. Hancock is running for a third term as mayor and is up for re-election in May.

Raising the minimum wage would cost between $2 million and $4 million and the funds would come from the city’s general fund. The current minimum wage is $10.20.

The mayor’s office did not say in its statement how many years it would take to reach $15 an hour.

“I’m committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from the unprecedented prosperity our city is enjoying today so that no one gets left behind,” Hancock said.

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