- Delaware joins the list of states and municipalities to pass minimum wage increases this year. Senate Bill 170, an amendment measure, was signed into law on July 1. Delaware’s rate hikes will increase incrementally over a span of four years, starting with $8.75 and ending at $10.25 an hour.
- The effective dates of Delaware’s four minimum wage increases fall on Oct. 1 of consecutive years, starting in 2018. The first minimum wage increase to $8.75 an hour, is effective this year. The second increase to $9.25 is effective in 2019; the third step rises to $9.75 in 2020; and the fourth bump increases the wage to $10.25 in 2021. Delaware’s current minimum wage is $8.25. It rose from the federal rate of $7.25 an hour to $7.75 in 2014 and bumped up again to the current rate in 2015.
- Delaware's House Bill 483 allows employers to pay 50 cents an hour below the state’s minimum wage to workers under 18 and to those 18 and over during their first 90 consecutive days of employment.
The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009, prompting some states and municipalities to act on their own accord due to concerns over wage stagnation. In fact, 18 state and city laws increasing minimum wages kicked in during this month alone, in addition to nearly 40 states, counties and cities that bumped wages at the beginning of 2018. Given this state of affairs, employers may need to brace for more changes on a state by state (and even city by city) basis.
Delaware's planned wage increases put it in line with other states that have gone beyond the federal minimum, it is neither leading the pack nor falling behind. Currently, the state with the highest minimum wage according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures is Washington at $11.50 (though the District of Columbia, while not technically a state, is higher at $13.25). Once all the planned wage increases slated for the next several years take effect there will be multiple states and jurisdictions with wages on the books of up to $15.00 an hour.
Massachusetts also recently announced a minimum wage increase as part of its "Grand Bargain" compromise bill signed last month, that also includes generous paid family leave benefits and a permanent tax holiday to boost business sales. To cope with the change (and better attract talent in a tight labor market), some employers have preemptively increased wages and benefits.