The Fight for $15: A Maryland County Raises the Bar

 

By Madi A. Bakker and James J. Murphy © Ogletree Deakins November 29, 2017
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Montgomery County, Md., has approved Bill 28-17, which will increase the countywide minimum wage from $11.50 to $15.00. The nine-member Montgomery County Council voted unanimously in support of the bill on Nov. 7, and County Executive Isiah Leggett signed the measure into law on Nov. 13.

The increased minimum wage will be phased in over time, with the smallest employers not reaching $15.00 until 2024. The phase-in schedule is as follows:

DateEmployers With 51 or More EmployeesEmployers With 11 to 50 EmployeesEmployers With 10 or Fewer Employees
July 1, 2018$12.25$12.00$12.00
July 1, 2019$13.00$12.50$12.50
July 1, 2020$14.00
$13.25$13.00
July 1, 2021$15.00$14.00$13.50
July 1, 2022 
$14.50$14.00
July 1, 2023 $15.00$14.50
July 1, 2024 
 $15.00

The legislation contains a special provision for home healthcare companies and nonprofits, which will be exempt from the initial 2021 compliance deadline. The new bill also provides for an opportunity wage, allowing an employer to pay a wage equal to 85 percent of the county minimum wage to an employee under the age of 20 years for the first 6 months that the employee is employed. Beginning on July 1, 2022, the $15.00 minimum wage will be subject to annual adjustments for inflation.

Montgomery County will join a short but growing list of U.S. jurisdictions to have adopted a $15.00 minimum wage. With the passage of Bill 28-17, Montgomery County joins Washington, D.C., as the second jurisdiction in the Washington metropolitan area to approve a $15.00 minimum wage.

Montgomery County is Maryland's most populous county and is home to many biotech, hospitality and defense industry employers in the Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring and Gaithersburg areas. It is a beltway suburb of Washington, D.C., situated between Fairfax County, Va., and Prince George's County, Md.

Madi A. Bakker and James J. Murphy are attorneys with Ogletree Deakins in Washington, D.C. © Ogletree Deakins. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission. 

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