The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) expressed its support of a proposal pending in the Maryland General Assembly to raise the state minimum wage to $15-per-hour contingent on the inclusion of several key amendments.
“The GBC has always maintained that any effort to change the minimum wage should be done on the federal or state level, not the county or city level,” said Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
With action on the issue at the federal level unlikely due to political polarization, the GBC understands that advocates for a higher minimum wage are pressing for new action at the state level, though Maryland’s current minimum wage of $10.10 per hour is higher than that required by federal law and in neighboring states.
The amendments that the GBC is seeking include preventing individual jurisdictions in Maryland from raising the minimum wage beyond that set by the state legislature and allowing small and mid-size employers a longer period of time to meet the new minimum wage requirement.
“Large employers are more likely to have the capacity to absorb an increase in the minimum wage. However, small and mid-size employers need additional time to plan and adjust to ensure their financial stability and future growth. Otherwise, they may face hardship,” said Fry, expressing concern that a minimum wage increase may impact small and mid-size businesses.
Specifically, the GBC’s support of the proposed legislation (House Bill 166) is contingent on passage of the following amendments:
- Establish separate timetables for small, mid-size and large employers to meet the new state minimum wage.
- Prohibit counties and municipalities in Maryland from enacting legislation on minimum wage that is inconsistent with state law.
- Eliminate a provision that requires all tipped-wage workers to be paid the state minimum wage by July 1, 2026.
- Strike a proposal that requires employers to pay seasonal, temporary and youth workers (under age 20) at the state minimum wage level.
- Preserve a provision that exists in current law that prohibits an employee from making groundless or malicious complaints against an employer and maintains the penalties for such violations.