1st phase of minimum wage hike in Montgomery County begins July 1

The first phase of establishing a $15 minimum wage for Montgomery County, Maryland, workers is set to begin Wednesday, July 1.

The wage increase, which was approved in November 2017, will gradually increase based on the number of workers hired by the company.

For employers with 51 or more workers, the minimum wage rises to $14 an hour.

For businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the minimum wage increases to $13.25, and a small business employer with 10 employees or fewer is required to pay at least $13 hourly.

Over the next four years, the minimum wage will continue to increase until workers at companies of all sizes gradually reach $15 an hour. Those at large companies with 51 or more workers will reach that rate next year.

According to a news release, workers age 18 and younger and working under 20 hours a week are exempt from the rate increase. They will earn at least 85 percent of the state’s minimum wage rate, currently set at $11 hourly.

It will not affect workers already exempt from federal and state minimum wage laws.

Those who supported the bill argued that it would help those who work lower-income jobs obtain more manageable wages and continue living in one of the region’s wealthiest counties.

“Thousands of construction workers, janitors, waitresses and cleaners among others will benefit from this decision and from this historic legislation,” Gustavo Torres of CASA said during the bill’s signing. “On behalf of our coalition, on behalf of the working class in Montgomery County — we want to extend our appreciation to the county council and the county executive.”

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