Minimum wage of $8.25 an hour starts today

DOVER — Delaware’s minimum wage is set to increase 50 cents today.

Senate Bill 6, signed into law in January 2014, raised the wage ceiling from the federal rate of $7.25 to $7.75 on June 1 of 2014 and then to $8.25 today.

Introduced in 2013 by Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington, the bill passed the General Assembly with only one Republican vote.

Robert Marshall

Robert Marshall

“Every little bit counts,” the sponsor said in January. “If you’re at the low end of the wage scale, you can take home an additional $30 a week, $120 a month.”

Sen. Marshall, who chaired a task force focused on law-wage workers last year, introduced a bill in March that would increase the minimum wage by 50 cents per year over the next four years and thereafter tie it to the federal Cost of Living Adjustment. It has been postponed until January to allow for the effects of the $8.25 pay rate to be felt.

Carrie Leishman, president and chief executive officer of the Delaware Restaurant Association, which has opposed both bills, said in March a higher minimum wage will not create jobs.

“We need to show organizations and companies that are looking at Delaware as a place to do business that it’s business-friendly,” she said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 11,000 Delawareans made minimum wage or less in 2013.

Fifteen states currently either have minimum wages higher than $8.50 or have passed laws that will raise the rate beyond that by 2017.

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