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Delaware Senate Democrats

Sen. Darius Brown Proposes $15 Minimum Wage by 2024

June 3, 2019

DOVER – Freshman Sen. Darius Brown introduced legislation in the Friday pre-file that would add Delaware to a growing list of states raising their minimum wages to $15 an hour.

“Our job in the General Assembly is to enact laws that improve the lives of our constituents,” said Brown, D-Wilmington. “The best way we can do that is by making sure our economy is providing good jobs that pay a fair and livable wage. No one who works full time should struggle to buy groceries, pay their bills and put a roof over their head.”

Brown noted that the average two-bedroom apartment in Delaware costs about $1,100 a month but someone working full time and earning Delaware’s current $8.75 hourly minimum wage is making only about $1,400 a month – before taxes are deducted.

“People mistakenly think the minimum wage is just for teenagers starting their first job,” Brown said. “The reality is minimum wage earners also include single parents working two and three jobs and seniors struggling to supplement their meager retirement packages.”

The Delaware General Assembly passed a bill in 2018 that raised minimum wage by 50 cents to $8.75 on Jan. 1. A second 50-cent hike slated to take effect Oct. 1 will increase that hourly pay to $9.25.

At the same time, the Legislature also voted to create separate youth and training wages, a law that allows employers to pay 50 cents less than the “minimum” to workers younger than 18 and anyone in the first 90 days on the job. That mean new hires and teens now can be paid as low as $8.25 an hour, a rate that will increase to $8.75 after Oct. 1.

Under SB 105, the base minimum wage allowed in Delaware would increase to $11 on Jan. 1 2020, followed by a $1 raise at the start of each new year until it hits $15 in 2024 ($14.25 for teens and new hires). The bill then would tie Delaware’s minimum wage to the consumer price index to ensure future increases are made automatically rather than requiring legislative action.

If SB 105 is passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Carney, Delaware would become at least the sixth state to phase in hikes over a number of years until the minimum wage reaches $15 an hour. States that have already done so include Delaware’s neighbors Maryland and New Jersey.

Sen. Brown, chair of the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus, will be available to discuss SB105 in person following his keynote address at the Juneteenth Flag Raising Ceremony, which is slated to begin at noon at the Route 9 Library and Innovation Center, 3022, New Castle Ave., New Castle, DE.