COMP NEWS – Gov. John Carney recently signed a bill that will increase Delaware’s minimum wage by almost $6 over the next four years, from $9.25 to $15 an hour.
Carney signed the bill while flanked by Democratic lawmakers who pushed the increase and passed it during the legislative session that ended last month.
“This is a big day, and a happy day for workers across the state of Delaware,” Carney said, adding that the bill “not only provides additional wages for low-wage workers but does it in a way that doesn’t discourage employment.”
The bill hefty opposition from both Republicans as well as the Deleware Restaurant Association, who argued that the wage increase would hurt struggling restaurants recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carrie Leishman, the association’s CEO, said she doesn’t expect immediate negative repercussions of the wage increases.
“I think the challenge will be when we’re in 2024, 2025 when those earning higher wages will want more due to wage pressure,” Leishman said.
Democrats and labor advocates, on the other hand, championed the bill.
“The legislation boils down to one core principle: Someone who puts in a hard day’s work deserves to earn enough to put a roof over their head and food on the table,” said Sen. Jack Walsh, a Democrat from Stanton who championed the bill.
Citing data from the Department of Labor, Walsh said 34,800 people in Delaware earn the minimum wage. Meanwhile, 53,200 people earn $10 or less, he said.
The state’s minimum wage will gradually increase over the next 4 years:
- $10.50 by 2022
- $11.75 by 2023
- $13.25 by 2024
- $15 by 2025
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