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Effort to raise Delaware's minimum wage set to heat up

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

Legislation raising Delaware’s minimum wage to $15 per hour is expected to be introduced soon.

And there is some business support for it.


The proposal sponsored by State Senator Jack Walsh (D-Stanton) would raise the state’s minimum raise to $15 per hour by 2025, with an increase to $10.50 next year, $11.75 in 2023, and $13.25 in 2024.

Walsh says it will help many in the state.

"The state of Delaware pays 3,000 workers at the minimum wage," said Walsh. "This is an issue that disproportionately impacts people of color, particularly single mothers. Nearly 40% of all workers of color in Delaware are earning minimum wage including nearly half of all Hispanic workers."

Walsh notes a quarter of the people the increase would help are raising children, and he says other nearby states, including Maryland, New Jersey, and New York have already passed similar legislation. 

Walsh plans to introduce a minimum wage increase bill soon.

Courtney Sunborn is the owner of Ecolistic Cleaning, a cleaning service in Lewes, and she says raising the minimum wage will help businesses as well as employees.

"Raising the minimum wage will bring people out of the impossible situation of working so hard at a full-time job that they're not able to make ends meet and when you raise the minimum wage it increases consumer spending and businesses rely on that to survive and grow," Sunborn said.

Sunborn adds increasing the minimum wage will also increase employee commitment and reliability while reducing turnover. 

Sunborn’s business pays employees at least $14.50 per hour after their first month, and she provides an example of how paying a higher wage helped her business.

"For us by paying livable wages we've seen that it increases both employee commitment and reliability, but it also decreases turnover. Turnover has proven for me to be so expensive. Keeping our wages high keeps our turnover low, so for me from that perspective it makes incredible business sense."

She adds later this year, her business plans to bump starting wages to $15 per hour.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.
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