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Montgomery County Council Approves Minimum Wage Increase to $15 Per Hour

The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a plan to raise the minimum wage in the County to $15.

The Council approved Bill 28-17 which will increase the County’s minimum wage to $15 per hour on July 1, 2021 for large employers with 51 or more employees. Mid-sized employers with between 11 and 50 employees must raise wages to at least $15 per hour on July 1, 2023. Small employers with 10 or fewer employers must pay workers $15 per hour on July 1, 2024.

The bill was sponsored by At-Large Councilmember Marc Elrich, and co-sponsored by Councilmembers George Leventhal (At-Large), Hans Riemer (At-Large), Tom Hucker (District 5) and Nancy Navarro (District 4).

The bill has provisions for non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) designations and eligible service providers to raise wages to $15 per hour by July 1, 2023, unless they are considered a small employer.

In addition, Bill 28-17 provides that the minimum wage must be adjusted annually for inflation according to the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W), starting July 1, 2022. This bill also provides for an opportunity wage, which is equal to 85 percent of the County’s minimum wage for employees under the age of 20 for the first six months of employment.

The County’s current minimum wage is $11.50 per hour. Yesterday’s vote makes Montgomery County among the first jurisdictions in the nation to approve a $15 per hour minimum wage.

The bill now goes to County Executive Ike Leggett for his signature. Leggett has made it known that he will sign the bill.

Councilmember Marc Elrich, a candidate for County Executive in the 2018 elections, who was the lead sponsor of the bill said: “What we have done today is huge. By passing this bill we recognize that people who work deserve to earn a decent wage. Raising the minimum wage is good for families, for neighborhoods and for our schools.”