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4

September

What You Need To Know About Minimum Wage in Maryland

Karen Gibbs

minimum wageHi Karen, what’s the minimum wage in Maryland? 
    Poor in Pasadena

Be patient, Poor; relief is on the way.  Maryland is one of 22 states and the District of Columbia that will set a minimum wage higher than the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

The state legislature passed, and Governor O’Malley signed into law, legislation that will increase the minimum wage to $8/hour as of January 1, 2015.  On July 1, 2015 that rate will rise to $8.25/hour, with annual increases after that which will bring the minimum wage up to $10.10/hour by July 1st, 2018.

Opponents of this legislation fear loss of jobs with the higher rate but a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that job growth among the 13 states that raised their minimum wage at the start of 2014 had faster employment growth than those states that kept their minimum wage at 2013 levels.

Some companies are going one step further.  If you’re lucky to be employed by one of Gap, Inc. brands – Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and others, or by Ben & Jerry’s, Costco, IKEA and Whole Foods, you don’t have to wait for 2015.  These companies say that raising the minimum wage now helps lower turnover and hiring costs while retaining happier employees who better serve the customer base.

But as the law giveth, the law takes away.  Maryland also passed an increase in the gas tax, effective July 1, 2014, of just under ½-cent per gallon, so you’ll be giving part of that minimum wage back to the state when you buy gas at the pump.

Another new Maryland law effective this July, is a ban on sales of grain alcohol of 190-proof or higher.  This action is in response to widespread abuse on college campuses where the cheap but potent beverage can lead to binge drinking and worse.

If you were a victim of a crime (under the influence or not), a new law will help you assert your rights.  As of July 1st, 2014, crime victims and their representatives will receive electronic notification of court hearings, to ensure their right to be present, heard and receive restitution can be asserted.

The state of Maryland also expanded services to families of homicide victims.  As of July 1, 2014, families that have suffered a loss will now have access to legal, counseling, mental health and advocacy services as they try to recover from the murder of a loved one.

These are just some of the new laws that went into effect in Maryland this month.  For more information on Maryland minimum wage laws, visit the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation's site

And good luck!

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