On January 17, 2017, the Montgomery County Council approved legislation that would increase the County’s minimum wage to $15 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees by July 1, 2020, and for all other employers by 2022. The Council approved the bill, Human Rights and Civil Liberties – County Minimum Wage – Annual Adjustment, by a 5-4 vote, although it remains unclear whether Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will veto the bill.

If allowed to become law, the bill would increase Montgomery County’s minimum wage to $12.50 per hour on July 1, 2018 and $13.75 per hour on July 1, 2019 before reaching $15/hour in 2020 for most businesses. The minimum wage for businesses with 25 or fewer employees would increase more gradually and reach $15 in 2022. The County’s current minimum wage is $10.75 per hour and is set to increase to $11.50 per hour on July 1, 2017. The bill also requires that, beginning in 2021, the minimum wage will be adjusted, if necessary, each year to match increases in the cost of living using the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

The minimum wage provisions do not apply to an employee who is:

  1. exempt from the minimum wage requirements of the State or Federal Act;
  2. under the age of 19 years and is employed no more than 20 hours per week; or
  3. subject to an opportunity wage under the State or Federal Act.

If the bill becomes law, Montgomery County would become the second jurisdiction in the Washington, D.C. area to approve a $15/hour minimum wage, after the District of Columbia.