By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver’s minimum wage increased to $14.77 per hour on New Year’s Day. The scheduled raise was approved by Denver City Council in 2019.

File photo of money. (photo: BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

The city will raise the minimum wage to $15.87 per hour by 2022. Employers must pay their employees the set annual rate if work is performed inside the city.

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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock discussed the possibility of delaying the minimum wage increase with stakeholders due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesperson for Hancock said the mayor decided against the delay after careful consideration.

Mayor Hancock and Denver Councilwoman Robin Kniech released the following statement to CBS4:

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“While recognizing the challenges to businesses throughout the COVID pandemic, as co-sponsors of the minimum wage increase adopted by City Council in 2019, Mayor Hancock and Councilwoman Kniech intend to keep the planned minimum wage increase in place and will not advance a council action to delay. This was not an easy decision, but as our economy recovers – and we know it will – we don’t want to leave behind our minimum wage workers, who are often frontline workers in the pandemic and disproportionately women and people of color. Putting additional dollars into the hands of workers also provides an economic stimulus by increasing their ability to spend.

The city has and will continue to support small, local businesses with financial relief, creative patio expansion programs, and other assistance to help them stay in business, and we’re encouraged by efforts to expand relief at the state level as well. But as we have emphasized before, only federal relief can meet the full scale of the economic challenges faced by businesses and working families in Denver and across our nation.”

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Denver’s minimum wage is set to increase again to $15 per hour in July. The pay increase is expected to impact 50,000 Denver workers.

Audra Streetman