Supporters of a movement to increase Delaware’s minimum wage spoke as one Monday in favor of raising it to $15 an hour within a few years, and to dispel messages against it they say are not true.
Senator Jack Walsh (D- Stanton) has submitted a bill that would increase the minimum wage from its current level of $9.25 to:
- $10.50 per hour in 2022
- $11.75 per hour in 2023
- $13.25 per hour in 2024
- $15 per hour in 2025
According to Walsh, the schedule is important and takes into account the uncertainty faced by employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This legislation proposes zero increases to the minimum wage in 2021,” Walsh said. “It gives business owners time to plan and prepare well ahead of any increase taking effect.”
Opposition is likely to center around familiar themes that the minimum wage serves as an entry level rate and that increasing it would amount to job losses and more automation.
Courtney Sunborn, owner of Ecolistic Cleaning based in Lewes, said the business makes it a principle to pay living wages. Ecolistic plans to implement a starting wage of $15 sometime this year.
“For us, by paying livable wages we’ve seen that it increases both employee commitment and reliability, but it also decreases turnover,” Sunborn said. “Turnover, for me, has proven to be so expensive.”
Sunborn said clients also appreciate seeing the same people month after month, or year after year.
The UFCW cited figures presented by the Economic Policy Institute which indicate that increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would raise the pay of 82-percent of all Delaware workers who are currently in poverty.