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Del.: State Approves Minimum Wage Increase

By Kirk Rafdal  2/25/2014
 
On Jan. 30, 2014, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, signed legislation to increase that state’s minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, one dollar more than the current rate of $7.25, effective June 1, 2015. An interim jump of fifty cents will occur on June 1 of this year, raising Delaware’s current wage to $7.75.

Delaware last raised its minimum wage in 2009 to parallel the federal government rate. After the full increase in 2015, the state will be on an equal footing with neighboring New Jersey. Nearby Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia remain at $7.25 per hour.

The Delaware Department of Labor reports that about 40,000 citizens, or 10 percent of the state’s workforce, could benefit from the increase.

“Even as we have made progress in creating more jobs and getting our state’s economy on track, we have much more to do to give opportunity to those earning minimum wage,” Markell said. “I am proud to sign this bill and wanted to do so on the same day it passed to reflect the commitment that I and many members of the General Assembly share: we cannot wait any longer to get this done. Raising the minimum wage represents one of the fastest ways we can act to give a boost to many struggling working families.”

Though popular with labor groups, the new law did not enjoy support from all quarters, particularly Delaware’s business community. “This issue is about jobs, and if you are looking at ways to create more opportunity for people in the state of Delaware, we don’t think this is the answer,” said Carrie Leishman, president and CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association.

Kirk Rafdal, J.D., is a staff writer for SHRM.

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