Delaware Lawmakers Seek to Raise the Minimum Wage … Again
The Delaware minimum wage will rise to $8.25 per hour effective June 1, 2015 pursuant to legislation passed last year. With the ink barely dry on that legislative amendment, Delaware lawmakers seek to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.25 by June 2019, and to index future wage hikes to cost-of-living increases. The proposal is to automatically increase the state’s minimum wage by fifty cents per year through 2019, and after July 1, 2019 the minimum wage will automatically increase by a percentage equal to the percentage of cost-of-living adjustment as determined periodically under the federal Social Security Act. Any such increase to the state’s minimum wage will take effect 90 days after the effective date of the corresponding increase in federal Social Security benefits. Lastly, under the proposal, upon establishment of a federal minimum wage in excess of the Delaware minimum wage, the state pay rate will be automatically increased to match the higher federal rate.
Further increase of the minimum wage is opposed by various business groups, including local chambers of commerce and restaurant owners. Opponents are concerned that many businesses still struggling to survive the recent economic downturn will be unable to withstand higher wage obligations. The lawmakers supporting efforts to raise the minimum wage cite that there is no data evidencing that the relatively nominal annual wage increases will cause businesses to close or move operations out of the state. Counsel at White and Williams LLP are closely monitoring this debate.
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