Wichita Council Sets $15 Minimum Hourly Wage For Employees

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Full-time city employees in Wichita will be paid a minimum of $15 an hour, as part of a $670 million budget approved by the City Council.

Wichita officials had earlier predicted the city would face a $10 million to $11 million shortfall because of the coronavirus. But the city will received $70 million from the federal American Recovery Plan Act and unexpected increases in sales tax revenues.

With those funds, the city plans to fill jobs that were kept vacant, starting with 139 civilian positions and seven police officers, The Wichita Eagle reported..

The new minimum wage was approved Tuesday, after Esau Freeman, business manager of the union that represents city employees, said Wichita should raises wages for all city employees. He said the union supports the minimum wage but only a few of its members will benefit from it.

“I think there was around 70 to 80 people (in line for raises) and half of them were a whole three cents away from $15 an hour,” Freeman said. The union represents between 800 and 900 workers.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple told KAKE-TV that he believes the current minimum wage is between $12 and $13 an hour.