Montgomery County has unanimously voted to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour from the current minimum of $11.50.
Montgomery County’s unanimous vote to increase the minimum wage on Tuesday, November 7 is good news for low income workers. However, the $3.50 increase will not take effect until 2021 for companies who have 50 or more employees, while employees of smaller companies won’t receive that increase until 2023.
The County is the first in the state to set a $15 minimum wage and is the only county in the country to set a minimum wage that differs from statewide minimums. A Minimum Wage bill passed earlier this year, but was vetoed by County Executive Isiah Leggett. This time around, however, the county council approved the bill as the new minimum wages will be implemented in stages:
- Large businesses — will increase the minimum wage by 75 cents in 2018, and it will go up one dollar each year until 2021;
- Mid-sized businesses — will see a 25 cent increase in 2018, 50 cents in 2019, 75 cents in 2020 and 2021, and 50 cents in 2023;
- Small businesses — will see 50 cent increases yearly until 2024.
The County Executive will have the authority to freeze and adjust the county’s minimum wage based on inflation rates and other economic factors.
Increasing the minimum wage had previously raised concerns that an increase would cause bigger companies to do business elsewhere, while many smaller companies feared they would go out of business as their profits would be cut. Now the compromise has helped to settle weary nerves, and County Executive Leggett has indicated that he will sign the bill into law.
Statewide minimum wage increases have been proposed in the state capitol but have not gained much support by state legislatures. Lawmakers are staying optimistic that statewide legislation, once introduced, will have a greater likelihood of gaining approval now that Montgomery County has set a new standard.
What are your thoughts about the minimum wage increase? Are you for or against it? Let us know in the comments below.