House Democrats voted Thursday to end the sub-minimum wage for training and for younger workers.
Sponsored by Rep. Kim Williams, House Bill 88 would repeal the youth and training wage, which allows employers to pay workers under 18 and anyone in their first 90 days of employment 50 cents less than the minimum wage.
“The youth and training wage discriminates against people because of their age or when they were hired. It creates a second class of workers, with some potentially earning less simply because they’re a minor, or because they’re new to the job, regardless of prior experience,” said Williams, D-Newport. “That’s less money for gas, bus fare, groceries or bills. This was a bad policy when it was enacted, and we’ve taken an important step toward unraveling it.”
Republicans argued that employers need the lower wage as compensation for training costs that come with entry level jobs.
The number of workers affected by the sub-minimum wages remains undetermined.
Delaware’s youth and training wage was established in 2018 as part of a compromise to address an impasse regarding the capital budget and grant-in-aid bills, both of which require super-majority votes to pass. The youth and training wage was offered as a compromise to secure the votes to approve the two spending bills after Republicans held up the budget bills.
HB 88, which passed on a party-line 26-15 vote, now heads to the Senate for consideration.
The bill is separate from proposed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.