Roanoke City Council unanimously passes raising minimum wage to $15/hour for city employees

The change goes into effect on December 27

Pay boosts and bonuses on the way for many Roanoke City employees.

ROANOKE, Va. – In a move to make working for the city of Roanoke more attractive, the Roanoke City Council unanimously voted to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour on Monday.

Currently, the city’s minimum wage is at the state level of $9.50/hour, so those making that will receive an increase in pay of just less than 60%.

The pay raise is for all city employees and goes into effect on December 27.

Employees won’t be receiving quite as much extra pay as Monday’s vote makes it seem because starting January 1, Virginia law raises the minimum wage to $11/hour, therefore the pay increase, outside those five days, is one of about 36%.

The city of Roanoke will be about four years ahead of Virginia as a whole, as the minimum wage in the Commonwealth isn’t set to reach $15/hour until Jan. 1, 2026.

The goal of raising the city’s minimum wage is to make city jobs more attractive because like many other organizations, the city is understaffed.

“We’re obviously like everyone else in a market competing for talent. We have 1700 employees that it takes to run this place,” said Roanoke’s City Manager, Bob Cowell.

City Council also approved a $1,500 bonus for public safety employees to be paid in part during January and July, as well as a $1,000 bonus for full-time non-public-safety employees and one of $500 for part-time non-public-safety employees.

“During these times you’ve had to go through a lot during COVID. You are the epitome of a central worker. You are there and have always been there. So you certainly have my full support,” said Vice-Mayor Trish White-Boyd.

The bonuses for non-public-safety employees will be paid in full in January.

“I think it’s making a difference. I think it’s a way, one way we can let employees know that we appreciate,” said Mayor Sherman Lea.

Also of note during Monday’s meeting, the council passed an ordinance allowing for another gun buyback event to happen in 2022, although no date or details have been decided at this time.

About the Authors:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.