oined by members of the General Assembly, Governor Markell signed into law Senate Bill 6, which will raise the minimum wage in Delaware to $8.25 per hour in two increments. Under legislation that cleared both the Senate and House today, the state's hourly minimum wage will go up 50 cents to $7.75 on June 1, 2014. On June 1, 2015, it will go up another 50 cents to $8.25 per hour, making it $1 higher than the current federal minimum wage.
"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," said Governor Markell. "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."
Delaware last increased its minimum wage in 2009, when the federal government increased the national minimum wage to its current level. Once the full increase is implemented, Delaware will be on par with New Jersey, where the current minimum wage is $8.25. The current minimum wage in the nearby states of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania is $7.25.
"Will this help people who are struggling to get by? Yes. Is it enough? No, but it's a step in the right direction" said Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West, the bill's prime Senate sponsor. "We've needed to do this for a long time. This will help people, who really need our help, put groceries on the table."
According to the Delaware Department of Labor, up to 40,000 people, nearly 10% of Delaware's workers, could be affected, either directly or indirectly, by this increase.
"I am pleased so many of my colleagues joined in supporting a bill that will have a real impact on Delaware families," said Rep. Gerald Brady, D-Wilmington West. "Our economy in recovery, and this minimum wage increase will allow Delawareans to participate in that recovery. It's a small but important step."