The $15 Minimum Wage Debate
The Baltimore City Labor Committee is currently reviewing legislation proposing an increase to the city’s minimum wage that, if passed, would require businesses to pay all employees at least $15 an hour by the year 2022. The bill originally set 2020 as the goal year, but the committee delayed the raise in an amendment made to the bill during a work session on Tuesday, February 28, 2017.
If the committee can get through the proposed amendments and vote on the bill during a work session scheduled for Thursday, March 2, 2017, it will go before the City Council on Aug. 15. If not, there is a third work session scheduled for Aug. 11. This would delay the City Council vote until later in the year.
City Council president Bernard C. “Jack” Young has come out in opposition to the bill. “We just can’t do $15,” Young told the Baltimore Sun. Many business owners feel the same way, insisting they would need to raise prices to compensate for the increase in payroll.
The current federally mandated minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. States and cities are allowed to set their own standard, as long as it meets the federal minimum. California and New York are currently the only states with $15 minimum wage laws on the books, but many cities have adopted similar laws.
Changes to minimum wage can create tensions between employers and employees. In some cases, you may need to make changes to employment contracts. Hiring a lawyer with the necessary experience in employer-employee law will make any necessary changes more manageable.
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