Minimum Wage Business

Mike Winder, owner of the Frederick Coffee Co. & Cafe in downtown Frederick.

Maryland will raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour at the beginning of the year, leaving some local businesses trying to figure out how the change will affect them.

The Maryland General Assembly approved the increase, which will eventually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, in its most recent session.

The Downtown Frederick Partnership held a workshop Friday for businesses to get an idea of what the new rules are and how they will impact business owners.

Allen Griffith Jr., a wage and hour investigator from the Maryland Department of Labor, briefed business owners on some of the things they should keep in mind, from exemptions to who qualifies for the minimum wage to wages for tipped employees.

After rising to $11 an hour in January, the minimum wage will rise to $11.75 an hour in January 2021 for businesses with 15 or more employees, and $11.60 for businesses with 14 or fewer employees.

If you own several businesses under one corporation, the state counts the total number of employees, whether they’re full-time, part-time, seasonal or otherwise, Griffith said.

“A person’s a person,” he said.

Cailey Locklair, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, told the group that getting the bill’s rules for tipped workers was “a huge fight,” and her group and others lobbied hard to make sure that the current enforcement rules stayed in the bill.

Under the law, businesses must pay tipped employees who earn more than $30 a month in tips at least $3.63 an hour.

But the amount plus tips have to be at least equal to the state minimum wage, and employers must provide workers with a statement for each pay period proving that their pay equals the minimum rate.

Locklair said her organization didn’t support the overall bill, objecting to what she called a one-size-fits-all approach to increasing the wage.

Kara Norman, executive director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, said that her conversations with the retail community showed either a lack of awareness of the changes, or how they would affect businesses.

The partnership wants to make sure that businesses have all the information they need to be successful, she said.

Whitney Dahlberg, who owns The Muse on North Market Street, said that the session was helpful.

When you read about new laws, there’s often so much information that it’s hard to tell what applies to you and what doesn’t, she said.

Dahlberg said her store pays above the minimum wage, so she attended the session mostly for informational purposes.

Mike Winder, owner of Frederick Coffee Co. & Cafe as well as several other businesses in Frederick, said he has been following the minimum wage situation but wanted to make sure he was clear on the new law.

Winder said he hires a lot of teenagers and young adults at his stores.

Increases in the minimum wage raise the base wage rate, as well as the contribution that employers contribute to workers’ state and federal taxes.

The increase has to be paid for and sometimes an employer can absorb the raise, but eventually it gets passed on to customers, Winder said.

“The cost of a cup of coffee is going to go up,” he said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(24) comments

public-redux

The original (federal) minimum wage was 25 cents per hour. As you can see, it has gone up tremendously since and, consequently, almost no one has a job any more. That’s why the unemployment rate is through the roof.

sej58

Don't let him fool you, most of his employees live independently and struggle to make ends meet. Guess I will have to go somewhere else for coffee now.

Quisling

I laughed when I read that, I feel really sorry for this man and his customers.

DickD

You can brew your own. ..I know, I have seen it done. [beam]

mikec

“The cost of a cup of coffee is going to go up,” he said.



Not for me. Already can't afford fancy coffee shop coffee. Also, I don't go downtown anymore. Gas House Pike bridge project has made it too inconveinent. Don't know who was hired to do the bridge, but it must be their first ever bridge. It's taking forever.

Joey Pesto

The increased minimum wage is already in effect in Montgomery County, which is ahead of the State increases. Unfortunately, restaurants get away with not reporting cash tips so they are not taxed and undocumented and "mom and pop" operations are getting paid in cash or by check in their personal names ab=nd again not paying for workers comp or state and federal taxes. Why is the State not going after these businesses? So now law abiding employeres have to raise prices to abide by the new minimum wage law, including sick and safe leave, and the public, who endorses these new laws, don't want to pay a little more so they go and use those "businesses" that are getting paid "under the table." The State needs to shut that illegal stuff down! And the employers who follow the rules need to make sure the employees "step it up" for a higher wage. FNP you need to tell the whole story.

DickD

There is one restaurant, a very good one with fairly high prices, that hires high school students, after work. One was doing dishes at $9.75/hr. They promoted him to salads and gave him a raise - to $10. I know he didn't need the money to live on, but that was ridiculous.

FyremanEd

Wow, he will have to sell 2 more cups of overpriced coffee to pay an employee. Boo Hoo.

matthewboh

I really wish you would report on other jurisdictions that have raised their minimum wage and what it has done for their local economy. Facts and data are so much better than what people think they know.

phoebe0727

God forbid we pay people a living wage. If you can't afford to pay your people, maybe you shouldn't be in business.

Lemmy

If people don't like their wage, they are welcome to take their marketable skills elsewhere.

richardlyons

Likewise, employers who don't like the new law can accept it, try to change it, close up or move their business to another state.

Lemmy

Just cut hours like other businesses have done and, in the long term, automate and replace workers entirely.

richardlyons

Yes that is an option ie. cutting hours, tough to do in a tight labor market and while automation make work in large scale industries is suicide in personal/customer service businesses.

gabrielshorn2013

@richardlyons McDonalds is reducing staff in their restaurants by going to an automated kiosk ordering system in their individual restaurants. Less counter staff. Most fast food restaurants will eventually go that route. Many customer service operations are now automated. Haven't you hear the "due to unusual call volume" recording when you call in to many companies? If the call waiting times are always long, is it really "unusual call volume"?

matthewboh

Well, someone has to pay for the massive tax breaks for corporations and billionaires. Might as well be local workers and small businesses.

richardlyons

[thumbup]

Comment deleted.
richardlyons

"What you earn" accounts for the governments take, that is Econ 101.

DickD

[thumbup]

pilot25

Economics 101 seems to slip past the liberal mind at every turn. Its not enough that Amazon is killing the local store now the county is trying to kill off the service industry too.

jakinnaird

Pilot - It’s not the County, this is a state mandate.

Lemmy

Let's just rename this the Robot Employment Act. Liberals once again fail economics as they fail to grasp the principle of "Elasticity of Demand".

richardlyons

Oh you crack me up!

DickD

You do realize that any time you can save money by refusing labor or other costs it's good management to reduce the cost. The problem is a robot can't think. What do you do when cream and sugar are not available and the robot doesn't understand. Supposing the customer wants extra coffee. If you lose a customer there's no income, no profit. . It's called dollar wise and pound foolish.

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