The District of Columbia and Maryland recently required employers to increase pay for employees making minimum wage. In addition to the recent wage hike, many employers soon will be on the hook for further minimum wage increases.
On July 1, 2017, the hourly minimum wage in the District increased one dollar to $12.50. On the same day, employees in Montgomery County, Maryland saw a $0.75 increase from $10.75 to $11.50, while the minimum wage for employees in other parts of Maryland increased from $8.75 to $9.25. Prince George’s County’s new minimum wage rate of $11.50 takes effect on October 1, 2017. Virginia’s hourly minimum wage will remain the same in 2017 at the rate of $7.25.
With the passage of the Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2016, D.C. employees earning minimum wage are guaranteed annual increases over the next three years until the minimum wage reaches $15. Thereafter, the rate will increase each year to match the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for the region. Marylanders earning minimum wage outside of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties can expect a $0.85 increase in 2018, bringing the state hourly wage rate up to $10.10.
While no hikes are currently planned for Virginia’s minimum wage—which is legislatively tied to the federal minimum wage—the topic remains popular: it was the subject of an unsuccessful bill proposed by state legislators last year and is often discussed and endorsed by Democratic candidates for state office. Similarly, a Montgomery County Council member recently reintroduced a bill to raise the county’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020. The effort comes after the County Executive vetoed an earlier version of the bill in January.
Employers in the region should ensure that all employees receive pay at or above the current minimum wage and must post current wage rate information in the workplace. Employers are highly encouraged to seek counsel from employment attorneys well-versed in employment law to ensure compliance with current legal authority.