Delaware Signs Bill Raising Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour, 10th State to Do So

by Megan Molseed

This week, Delaware became the 10th state to officially raise the minimum wage. Delaware has joined a number of states increasing the minimum wage guidelines in recent years. On Monday, Delaware Governor John Carney signed the bill to raise the state’s minimum wage. The state’s previous set minimum had been $9.25. The bill signed by Democratic governor Carney will increase this amount by $1 each year through 2025.

The bill, and the increases, will take effect on January 1, 2022.

“This is a big day, and a happy day for workers across the state of Delaware,” Governor Carney during the Monday signing ceremony.

“What we’re doing is really, really important,” he added.

The governor went on to note that this bill works to make sure that all people within the state have the same opportunity to earn a living wage.

“There are many people that go to work every day, work hard, support their families and themselves,” Governor Carney said. “And when you think about our work as public officials, there’s nothing really more important than giving everybody that opportunity.”

Delaware Joins Other States In Effort To Increase Incomes

Delaware is the tenth state to pass this type of legislation. The state follows California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island in the effort to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The District of Columbia has also approved a similar bill.

According to Newsweek, Delaware’s decision to raise hourly wages to $15 comes as federal minimum wage guidelines have remained the same for well over 10 years. Currently, the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour. This is less than half of the planned increase.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden made an attempt to double the federal minimum wage guidelines. This came along with the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. However, the measure did not pass. President Biden did issue an executive order this spring that requires federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage. This will go into effect on January 30, 2022.

Some Businesses Have Joined The Effort As Well

Along with the states who have increased the wage guidelines at the state level, some companies have stepped up in the effort. Many have increased their own minimum wage guidelines. Companies such as Best Buy, Amazon, Costco, Bank of America, McDonald’s, and Target have increased their starting wages over the years.

According to a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an employee who works forty hours a week at the current minimum wage rates would not be able to afford even a two-bedroom apartment or home. The study also noted that a full-time employee making these wages would only be able to afford a one-bedroom home or apartment in just 7 percent of the counties across the nation.