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Delaware to have $15 minimum wage by 2025

The boost will begin on Jan. 1, 2020, with an initial raise to $10.50 and increase annually.

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On Monday, July 19, Delaware Governor John Carney signed into law a long overdue bill that will gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 by the year 2025.

This bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Jack Walsh and State Rep. Gerald Brady, will begin this gradual increase on Jan. 1, 2022, with a $10.50 minimum wage. 

The increase will continue each year, from $11.75 in 2023, to $13.25 in 2024, and then the full $15 in 2025. 

“It’s always been my objective to make sure, as Senator Walsh said, that everybody that puts in a full day’s work and works hard, is not receiving wages under the poverty level. And in my budget this year does that,” Carney told WHYY. 

In 2015, Delaware’s minimum wage was $8.25 per hour. In October 2019, it was increased to $9.25.

According to Sen. Walsh, 8% of the total workforce in the state currently earn minimum wage, accounting for about 34,8000 residents. Walsh said 53,000 workers in the state make less than $10 an hour, so the 2022 wage increase would be a raise for them as well. 

Robert Acevedo, a Wilmington resident who cleans offices in the city, told WHYY that the legislation is going to make a difference in the lives of many people. 

“It feels good for all the workers in Delaware, at least they got a chance of building up their income,” Acevedo said. 

Tracey Thuo has been pushing for the wage increase alongside Acevedo and other workers in Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.

“It feels good inside because I put a lot of effort, along with my other brothers and sisters in the union,” Thuo told WHYY

Groups like Business for Fair Minimum Wage, a network of business organizations, owners and executives, also commended Delaware’s decision. 

Alissa Barron-Menza, vice president of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, told CNBC that when the cost of living increases, people struggle to afford even the most basic necessities. 

“Businesses need customers who can afford their products and services,” she said. 

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator, an individual worker in a state with no children must earn at least $15.32 per hour to make a living wage to cover their basic needs. 

Sarah Titus, owner of the Comic Book Shop in Wilmington, told CNBC that she supports the gradual wage increase. Since her and her partner bought the store over a decade ago, they have made a consistent effort to provide their employees with an hourly wage above the state’s minimum required rate. 

This decision has assisted her with retaining employees at the store and she said it helps give her employees some peace of mind. 

“We want to know that our people aren’t struggling,” Titus said. “We want them to be able to come in fresh for the day and not be stressed about paying their bills.” 

Delaware now joins neighboring states New Jersey and Maryland in moving to a $15 minimum wage. Other states — including California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York — are also in the process of raising their minimum hourly wage to $15.




 

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