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​Maryland to Boost the State Minimum Wage to $10.10 an Hour by 2018  

By Ashley Kaplan, Esq. on 5/7/2014
Maryland raises minimum wage

In his State of the Union address in January 2014, President Obama spoke about the issue of income inequality, challenging Congress to raise the minimum wage for all U.S. workers to $10.10 an hour. Although not yet a sweeping change on the national level, many states and cities are taking legislative matters into their own hands and approving their own minimum wage increases.

We can now count Maryland among them. In early April, the state legislature approved a bill that will raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by 2018. This makes Maryland the second state after Connecticut to respond to Obama’s plea and raise the minimum wage to $10.10. While not hitting the same $10.10 rate, Delaware, Minnesota and West Virginia have also raised their minimum wages since the beginning of the year.

The Maryland minimum wage hike will occur in steps over the next four years, increasing to $8 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015 and $8.25 on July 1, 2015. It will then increase in 50-cent increments in 2016 and 2017, ultimately reaching $10.10 on July 1, 2018.

While nearly a half million Maryland workers are expected to benefit from the staggered increase, a few exceptions exist. The new legislation exempts:

Restaurants, cafes and seasonal amusement parks making less than $400,000 annually
Tipped restaurant workers, freezing the base wage to $3.63 an hour

The law also includes a provision allowing businesses to pay a lower training wage – 85 percent of the state minimum wage – to workers age 20 or younger in their first six months.

President Obama applauded Maryland for leading by example, stating, “Maryland’s important action is a reminder that many states, cities and counties – as well as a majority of the American people – are way ahead of Washington on this crucial issue.”

Labor Law