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Md.: State Minimum Wage Will Increase to $10.10

By Joanne Deschenaux  4/8/2014

Maryland will become the second state—after Connecticut—to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The increase will be gradual. The first rise, to $8 per hour, will occur on Jan. 1, 2015. By July 2016, the rate will be $8.75 per hour, and by July 2017, it will be $9.25 per hour. The last increase, to $10.10, will come by July 2018. The final bill was approved 87-47 by the State House of Delegates on April 7, 2014. The legislation passed the Senate 34-13 on April 5.

Increasing the minimum wage has been Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley’s top priority in his final legislative session, although his original proposal has undergone several changes. O’Malley had suggested that the increase be phased in over two years, instead of the four years provided by the final bill. The delay is intended to give businesses more time to adjust. The legislature also rejected O’Malley’s proposal to have the wage rate continue to grow with the rate of inflation. The bill contains no provision regarding additional increases after the rate reaches $10.10 in 2018.

The final bill freezes the base wage for tipped workers at $3.63 per hour, which is 50 percent of the federal minimum wage but not the proposed state wage. O’Malley had proposed increasing that base wage to 70 percent of the state’s minimum wage, which eventually could have been more than $7 per hour.

Businesses will also be allowed to pay a lower training wage—85 percent of the state minimum wage—to workers under age 20 for their first six months. And some businesses will be exempt from paying the full higher state minimum: seasonal amusement parks, cafes and restaurants with annual income below $400,000 and the state’s one drive-in movie theater.

“We worked hard to bring people together and forge the consensus necessary to make this important progress possible,” O’Malley said in a statement April 7. “I commend the General Assembly for giving so many Maryland families the raise they deserve.”

Joanne Deschenaux, J.D., is SHRM’s senior legal editor.

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