Minimum Wage Rises To $15 In MD

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Maryland’s minimum wage increased to $15 on Jan. 1, 2024. Cash is pictured above. (Lauren Ramsby/Patch)

Patch manager Deb Belt wrote this story.

MARYLAND — Hourly workers in Maryland are among millions of Americans in 22 states who will bring home more pay in 2024, according to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., left-leaning think tank that analyzes the economic impact of policies and proposals.

The minimum wage in Maryland will increase to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2024, as the Fair Wage Act of 2023 takes effect, which was signed into law by Gov. Wes Moore on April 11, 2023.

For companies that employ more than 15 people, this change wasn’t supposed to go into effect until January 1, 2025. However, under the legislation Moore signed, it took effect this New Year.

Effective Jan. 1, 2023, Maryland minimum wage went to $13.25 for large employers and $12.80 for small employers. For tipped employees, the rate is $3.63.

The previous version of the law set a schedule to ramp up to the $15 threshold in 2025 for large employers and 2026 for small employers. With the passage of the Fair Wage Act of 2023, employers of all sizes must pay $15 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2024.

Companies that employ people under the age of 18 must pay an employee a wage that equals at least 85% of the state’s minimum wage. Tipped workers are not affected by the law.

In 2019, Maryland passed a law that increases the minimum wage by 4 percent every year until 2025. According to the ‘Fair Wage Act of 2023’ beginning July 1, 2025, the Commissioner will determine if a minimum wage increase is needed based on the Consumer Price Index.

The law eliminates future rate increases, but that could change with new legislation.

Two Maryland counties already had the $15 an hour wage requirement in place, WUSA said.

Montgomery County in July increased its minimum wage for companies with 51 or more employees to $16.70 per hour. Small companies of 11 to 50 employees have a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Smaller employers paid $14.50 per hour. The new state law will apply to Montgomery County employers with 10 or fewer employees who must raise employee wages from $14.50 to $15 per hour beginning Jan. 1.

“We applaud Governor Wes Moore’s efforts to help all Marylanders,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “The minimum wage is ultimately about working people being able to earn enough to put a roof over their heads, feed their families and not have to choose between food on the table and medical visits. I want to thank Governor Moore for making this one of his earliest priorities. I was glad to testify on behalf of the legislation, and I support this important statewide legislation.”

Howard County’s standard minimum wage has been $15 since April of 2023. Since Howard County has already been paying employees the state standard, it will not increase its minimum wage in January.

The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour since July 24, 2009 — the longest period in history without a raise.

While minimum wage in Maryland, and several other states, has reached $15 an hour, there has been a new push — the Fight for $20, according to GovDocs.

In Maryland, a single adult must earn $19.61 per hour to cover basic living expenses, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator. Maryland Matters reports that in western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, the living wage is about $4 less.

Other states with minimum wage increases on Jan. 1 are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates some 9.9 million workers will receive $6.95 billion in additional wages with the New Year’s Day pay bumps. In the absence of federal action to raise the minimum wage, states and localities are taking the lead in advancing fairer wage floors through legislation, ballot measures and automatic inflation adjustments, the group said.

The analysis shows women will make up 57.9 percent of workers getting a pay raise on Jan. 1. The raises also disproportionately benefit Black and Hispanic workers, the report said.

Black workers comprise 9 percent of the workforce in states with increases but represent 11 percent of workers affected by the increases. Hispanic workers make up 19.6 percent of the workforce in affected states and are nearly 40 percent of the people getting raises Jan. 1.

Families will also benefit. Just over 25 percent of affected workers, or 2.5 million people, are minimum wage workers. Overall, some 5.6 million children live in homes where an individual will get a pay raise.

The report said almost 1 in 5 workers getting a raise have incomes below the federal poverty level. Nearly half have incomes two times below the poverty line.

More than 17 million workers still earn less than $15 an hour, according to the analysis — nearly half of them in the 20 states that use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or have no minimum wage.

States with $7.25 minimum wages are Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee have no minimum wage.

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Way to go, governor Moore, legislature & Maryland voters !!! That should belly up & bankrupt quite a few SMALL businesses. The SPINE of America, start-up & dreams of many American families. This Country under Wes Moore, democrats & Biden will be paid for by this younger generation of YOUR children, WHO seemingly don't want to work !!! Our country is DOOMED with this mindset !!! Face it Maryland, YOU can't be California, the (ARMPIT of the USA) by taxing citizens to oblivion and RESTRICTING people's rights !!! NO matter how hard you try.

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Way to go, governor Moore, legislature & Maryland voters !!! That should belly up & bankrupt MORE small businesses. The SPINE of America, start-up & dreams of many American families. This Country under Wes Moore, democrats & Biden will be paid for by this younger generation of children, WHO seemingly don't want to work !!! Our country is DOOMED with this mindset !!! Face it Maryland, NO matter how hard you try. YOU can't be California, the biggest ARMPIT of the country, by taxing citizens to oblivion and RESTRICTING people's rights !!!

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