2018 Written Testimony | Senate Bill 0543 Fight for Fifteen


  • Senate Bill 0543 - Labor and Employment – Payment of the Minimum Wage Required (Fight for Fifteen)
  • Finance Committee – March 8, 2018


Thank you for this opportunity to submit written testimony concerning an important priority of the Woman’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County (WDC) for the 2018 legislative session. WDC is one of the largest and most active Democratic Clubs in our County with more than 600 politically active women and men, including many elected officials.

WDC urges the passage of SB0543. This bill requires the State minimum wage to increase annually based on a gradual schedule until it reaches $15 per hour by July 1, 2023, and for tipped workers by July 1, 2025, after which it shall increase annually based on the annual growth in the Consumer Price Index. Beginning in July 1, 2026 an employer may not include a tip credit as part of a tipped worker’s wages. The bill requires a specified compensating annual rate increase for contracted community service providers.

Montgomery County recently passed legislation that requires the gradual increase in wages to $15 per hour by July 1, 2025, for all businesses. Washington, DC requires wages to be gradually increased until they reach $15 per hour by July 1, 2020.

No one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty. A job should lift families out of poverty, not keep them in it. The current Federal minimum wage rate has not kept pace with inflation as originally intended. That is why Maryland must act. Over sixty percent of low-wage workers are women, many working full-time and supporting families. This bill will help reduce their dependence on social safety-net programs that are supported by our tax-payer dollars and subsidize those businesses that pay low wages. By including tipped workers, this bill also ensures that tips accrue to the benefit of the workers, instead of subsidizing the sub-standard wages paid by their employers.

Passage of this bill will be good for our State’s economy. It will ensure a consistent wage rate throughout the Maryland-DC metropolitan area so that no Maryland business is at a competitive disadvantage based on geographic location. It will put more money into the hands of low-wage workers who spend most of their income on basic necessities, often at local businesses. It will help close gender-based pay gaps. Furthermore, studies show that when hourly wages are increased to $15, overall jobs are not lost and businesses do not close.

We ask for your support for SB0543 and strongly urge a favorable Committee report.