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Minimum wage increase in Virginia is delayed until May

Money Generic AP 6-15-2020
Money Generic AP 6-15-2020(AP Images)
Updated: Jan. 3, 2021 at 9:11 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Minimum wage workers in Virginia will be waiting a few more months before seeing a pay increase. The law was set to go into effect on January 1, but Governor Ralph Northam delayed it until May 1.

The bill was in its final stages when the coronavirus pandemic first hit but was delayed. The General Assembly approved Gov. Northam’s amendment to the bill to give businesses more time to recover.

Small businesses are still struggling, so they may not be able to afford to pay minimum wage workers more at this time.

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy Executive Director Kim Bobo says they are disappointed about having to wait, but glad the governor moved payday lending reforms to be in effect Jan. 1 instead of July as scheduled.

This reform aims to protect Virginians from high unnecessarily high-interest rates and debt traps.

“Advocates felt like it was a, on some level, reasonable exchange,” Bobo said. “If we go forward with a minimum wage increase in May, you know it would have been better in January for people but again, it’s understandable and I think most advocates were accepting of the change.”

Along with a wage increase, they’re pushing for a paid sick day standard.

“We continue to have 1.2 million workers in Virginia with no paid sick days, and that is just a really important complement to raising the minimum wage. So yes, people need to have the minimum wage raised and all these low wage workers who don’t have access to paid sick days need to have it,” Bobo said.

The Virginia Interfaith Center and Paid Sick Day Coalition plans to host a press conference this Tuesday regarding paid sick days.

The hourly minimum wage in Virginia will increase to $9.50 beginning May 1 and then will increase to $11.00 on Jan. 1, 2022.

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