Employers in Maryland generally, and in Montgomery County specifically, need to be aware that two changes in the minimum wage became effective on July 1, 2018.
Statewide, the minimum wage increased from $9.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-413(c)(5). Employers should note there are a couple exceptions for employees under the age of 20 and for those employed at amusement or recreational establishments, including a swimming pool. Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-413(d).
In Montgomery County, employers with 50 employees or less must pay a minimum wage of $12.00 per hour and those employing 51 or more must pay $12.25 per hour. Employees age 18 and under working under 20 hours per week are exempt from the increase and, as with the state law, there are exceptions for employees under the age of 20 and employees of amusement and recreational establishments. Montgomery County Code, ch. 27, art. XI, §§ 27-68 & 27-70A (2017).
The potential penalties for an employer’s violation of these laws can be significant. An employee can recover:
- The difference between the wage paid to the employee and the wage required;
- A potential additional amount equal to the difference between the wage paid to the employee and the wage required (i.e. liquidated damages); and
- Reasonable counsel fees and other costs.
Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-427(d).
In addition, employers and employees alike should be aware that under Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-428(d), employers who violate minimum wage laws, or employees who bring bad faith complaints against their employer for failure to comply with minimum wage laws, can be guilty of a misdemeanor on conviction and subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000.
Mr. Burkhouse is a Member with PK Law and is part of the firm’s Education, Labor and Employment Group. As part of Mr. Burkhouse’s employment law practice he counsels and represents employers regarding employment discrimination claims arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Mr. Burkhouse also advises employers with regard to non-compete agreements, restrictive covenants, arbitration agreements, trade secrets, confidentiality agreements, and employee hiring and termination procedures. Mr. Burkhouse can be reached at (410) 740-3150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
 The Maryland State Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Division of Labor and Industry, Employment Standards Service, has the authority to enforce Montgomery County’s minimum wage. See Minimum Wage and Overtime Law—Montgomery County, Maryland Dep’t of Labor Licensing & Reg. (Jun. 2018), https://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/wages/minimumwagelawmont.pdf.