Maryland Minimum Wage Will Increase to $15 per Hour

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

March 28, 2019

The Maryland General Assembly voted to override the governor's veto to pass a bill that will increase the state minimum wage rate to $15 per hour for all employers by 2026. Maryland becomes the sixth state to approve a $15 minimum wage, following California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Under the law, the minimum wage will increase from the current $10.10 per hour to $11.00 on January 1, 2020. The wage rate will increase each consecutive January 1 to $11.75 in 2021; $12.50 in 2022; $13.25 in 2023; $14.00 in 2024; and $15.00 in 2025.

The law also for the first time establishes a state minimum wage rate for small employers, defined as those with 14 or fewer employees. These employers also will be required to pay the $11.00 minimum wage rate beginning in 2020, but the minimum wage increases more slowly to $11.60 in 2021; $12.20 in 2022; $12.80 in 2023; $13.40 in 2024; and $14.00 in 2025. In 2026, small employers will have two wage increases - $14.60 on January 1 and $15.00 starting on July 1.

The law also permits the Board of Public Works (comprised of the governor, state treasurer and comptroller) to temporarily suspend an increase in the minimum wage rate one time if certain seasonally adjusted employment data for the current six-month period compare negatively to the prior six-month period.

Finally, the law also requires the commissioner of labor and industry to adopt regulations to require restaurant employers that include a tip credit as part of tipped employees' wages to provide those employees with a written or electronic wage statement that shows their effective hourly tip rate. The effective hourly tip rate will be derived by adding employer-paid cash wages and all reported tips for the tip-credit hours worked in each workweek of the pay period.