Delaware’s minimum wage will drop from $ 9.25 to $ 10.50 an hour starting in January.
In June, lawmakers passed a bill to raise the minimum wage from more than a dollar a year until it reaches $ 15 an hour by 2025:
- $ 10.50 by 2022
- $ 11.75 by 2023
- $ 13.25 by 2024
- $ 15 by 2025
The $ 10.50 minimum wage law comes into effect on January 1.
Twenty other states will also raise their minimum wages next year.
Eight of them – Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia – gradually increase their minimum wage to $ 15 over the next four years, like Delaware. California and New York are taking similar measures, depending on the size and location of the employer.
The Delaware Department of Labor estimates that 55,000 people in the state earn $ 10 an hour or less.
Business owners have had mixed reactions in Delaware. Some support a minimum wage of $ 15, saying it increases consumer spending when the economy needs a post-pandemic boost, in addition to improving worker morale and customer service.
But others, like the Delaware Restaurant Association, which has lobbied aggressively against a minimum wage of $ 15, argue that businesses won’t be able to afford that amount after going through the pandemic.
The restaurants were among 4,000 local businesses that received more than $ 200 million in state-funded loans and grants to keep them afloat in the face of the pandemic, in addition to millions of other federal aid through the Fund. restaurant revitalization and paycheck protection program.
Restaurants will not be badly affected by this upcoming increase, as most restaurants already appear to be paying at least that amount, according to Carrie Leishman, president and CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association. She said they could be more affected when the minimum wage is further increased in the years to come.
The Delaware Restaurant Association conducted a survey in August that found that all restaurants that responded had increased their salaries in 2021, and 55% said they had increased their salaries by more than 10%, according to Leishman.
âThat (the increase in wages) has largely no effect on our industry, as we are paying those wages now due to the severe labor shortage,â Leishman said. “I can’t say what’s going to happen in three years.”
Kristen Deptula, owner of the Canalside Inn in Rehoboth Beach, pays her employees $ 15 an hour or more depending on their experience.
“It’s better for the economy, it’s better for our region,” Deptula said. âPeople donate money locally because they can afford to dine on the street rather than not being able to spend the money.â¦ It benefits the customer if the employees are happier. You will see better customer service. . “
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Sarah Gamard covers government and politics for Delaware Online / The News Journal. Contact her at (302) 324-2281 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SarahGamard.