The employment law attorneys at Bowie & Jensen LLC explain the recent minimum wage change in Maryland and plans for future increases.
On January 1, 2015, the hourly minimum wage in Maryland increased from $7.25 to $8.00 per hour, the first in a series of graduated increases that will see it reach $10.10 by 2018.
The minimum wage rate is the lowest amount of money an employer is legally obligated to pay its employees. The dollar amount varies from state to state and is dependent on numerous economic and legal factors.
Governor Martin O’Malley signed this legislation in May 2014, expressing a goal of strengthening the middle class in Maryland. In previous statements he noted that the former minimum wage simply was not enough money for workers to support their families and overcome poverty.
Although the announcement of an increased minimum wage excited employees, some small businesses fear for their viability. There is a concern that increasing the amount of money going towards employee paychecks will divert money away from other financial needs of the business, especially in a still-uncertain economy.
Maryland is one of 29 states, in addition to Washington D.C., to have set a rate greater than the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. The current legislation calls for the state’s next increase to take place on July 1, 2015, rising from $8.00 to $8.25. On July 1, 2016, the rate will increase to $8.75, then $9.25 on July 1, 2017 and finally $10.10 on July 1, 2018.