New year brings higher Maryland minimum wage

by Kate Shunney

Maryland workers will see the state’s minimum wage increase today from $10.10 to $11.00 per hour.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

Maryland lawmakers voted in March to lay out a path for state wages to rise to $15.00 per hour by 2026. Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the bill, but Democrats in the General Assembly overrode the vetoes and the law takes effect today, January 1, 2020.

Hogan said the wage increase would make Maryland less competitive in the business world.

Minimum wages will rise each year from now until January 1, 2026 under the law.

For companies with fewer than 15 employees, the minimum wage will go up to $11.60 in 2021, then $12.20 in 2022, and rise in 60-cent increments until 2026.

Companies with at least 15 employees must raise minimum wages by 75 cents each year until it reaches $15.00 on January 1, 2025.

Workers who are younger than 18 can be paid just 85 percent of the minimum wage for the first six months of their job or the duration of a seasonal job.

This year’s minimum wage increase is a continuation of a scheduled hike in wages that was approved in 2014.

Some counties in Maryland have implemented a higher minimum wage for companies doing business in their localities, including Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

A minimum wage is supposed to ensure that low-wage employees receive enough pay to meet living expenses in their particular location.