The House Economic Matters Committee voted 13 to 8 on March 3 to approve legislation backed by Gov. Martin O’Malley that would raise the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 over the course of the next three years.
“No one who works full time should have to raise their family in poverty,” O’Malley said in a statement after the bill was approved. “I commend the members of the committee for their hard work, and I look forward to the bill advancing to a vote before the full House of Delegates.”
The bill didn’t make it through without a couple changes though. Instead of the original July 1, 2014 effective date, the first hike — to $8.20 — will be pushed back to Jan. 1, 2015; and additional hikes — to $9.15 and then $10.10 — will take effect on Jan. 1 of the two subsequent years.
Additionally, exemptions were made for the restaurant industry and businesses with gross incomes less than $250,000. Wages for tipped workers will remain at a minimum $3.63 and employers will be responsible for making up the difference if employees don’t make enough in tips to reach the $10.10 mark. The automatic increase related to inflation, which would have taken effect after 2017 in the original proposal, was also stripped.