When Kristen Deptula and her husband brought the Canalside Inn in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in October 2019, they had no idea that the coming summer season at the shore town will mostly be a bust due to Covid-19.
The innkeepers were able to access federal funding via the Paycheck Protection Program to help them keep going.
Deptula credits another decision of paying their staff a $15 per hour minimum wage with helping the transition of business through the pandemic.
That wage is well above the current $9.25 per hour currently mandated by the state. But a Washington state native, Deptula, had seen the higher rate succeed in Seattle.
“It was just something I thought was a good practice,” Deptula said.
Now, Delaware is at a point to gradually move toward a $15 per hour state minimum wage by 2025 once Governor of Delaware John Carney signs a bill that is passed by the state’s legislature earlier in this month.
This move comes as a big push to increase the federal minimum wage to at least $15 per hour, from current $7.25. This move hit a roadblock when it was excluded from the final American Rescue Plan Act. However, it was given approval by the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, other states have raised their minimum wages. Florida state is in the process of gradually moving to a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2026.
Presently 22 states have more minimum wages than Delaware.
Yet it remains to be seen whether this Diamond State Delaware’s expected move to boost minimum wage rate could help prompt changes at the federal level.
Groups like a network of business organizations, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, owners and executives, applaud the decision of Delaware.