Maryland’s Minimum Wage Is Poised to Increase — Is Your Business Ready?

If your business has employees in Maryland, get ready to start issuing pay raises. The Maryland General Assembly is currently considering a bill that would steadily increase the state’s minimum wage by approximately 50% in four years. Maryland’s current minimum wage is $10.10 per hour, $2.85 higher than the federal minimum established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the new proposal, the statewide minimum wage would increase to $11 per hour later this year, then by $1 each subsequent year until reaching $15 per hour in 2023. After that, it would automatically adjust based on the Consumer Price Index for the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

As issues related to minimum wage tend to do, Maryland’s proposal has sparked significant debate among lawmakers, business owners, and labor unions. Advocates believe higher wages would help close the income gap and reduce poverty. Opponents argue that the increase could place undue strain on employers, causing long-term economic effects that may ultimately exacerbate inequality.

With that in mind, employers in Maryland should start preparing now to meet higher wage and hour requirements. This kind of planning takes a different shape for every organization. I’ve heard from clients and business owners who are attempting to manage the cost by raising the rates of their products and services, focusing on using labor more efficiently (i.e., reducing hours worked), and automating parts of their workforces.

Some strategies are riskier than others. For instance, employers should be careful when considering switching from a workforce of employees to independent contractors. The two categories have distinct, specific legal definitions. Employers who misclassify their workers can face lawsuits and fines.
However you intend to adapt to Maryland’s pending minimum wage increase, your attorney can help you cost-effectively strategize and ensure compliance with the law. If you have questions about this or any labor and employment issue, don’t hesitate to contact Russell Berger at rberger@offitkurman.com or at 410.209.6449.

ABOUT RUSSELL BERGER
rberger@offitkurman.com | 410.209.6449

As an accomplished labor and employment attorney and Practice Group Director, Mr. Berger provides business counsel to employers on employee matters and is well-versed in litigating in both state and federal courts. Russell Berger is the trusted legal counsel every business owner needs to feel confident in their decision-making and secure with their assets. As a Practice Group Director at Offit Kurman, Mr. Berger has direct experience with managing other managers, which he draws from in advising his clients. He is a pragmatic problem-solver that works efficiently and tirelessly to present his clients the best possible solutions to their most complicated issues. He represents employers, businesses, and professionals in employment disputes across the nation.