Maryland Minimum Wage: Minimum Wage in Maryland in 2024

February 20, 2024
Maryland Minimum Wage

Maryland minimum wage has undergone a noteworthy update, marking a significant shift for businesses across the state. This change brings both challenges and opportunities, especially for those in the restaurant sector. 

As you navigate these adjustments, understanding the implications and strategizing accordingly is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. But how can your restaurant adapt to these changes without compromising quality and profitability? 

This article will guide you through the recent modifications in the Maryland minimum wage, offering insights and strategies to turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and sustainability.


What is the Minimum Wage in Maryland?

As of January 1, 2024, Maryland has set a new benchmark by increasing the statewide minimum wage to $15.00 per hour for employers of all sizes, up from the previous rate of $13.25 per hour. This adjustment was propelled by the enactment of Maryland Senate Bill 555 (SB555), also known as the Fair Wage Act of 2023, signed into law by Governor Wes Moore on April 11, 2023. This legislation marks a significant step toward ensuring equitable wages for workers across Maryland.

Local Minimum Wage Rates in Maryland

While the statewide minimum wage serves as a foundation, specific counties within Maryland have adopted their own minimum wage rates, catering to the local economic conditions and cost of living. Here's a breakdown of the minimum wage rates in Montgomery and Howard Counties:

Montgomery County

Starting July 1, 2024, businesses with 51 or more employees will need to adjust their payroll to meet the new minimum wage of $16.70 per hour. Those with 50 or fewer employees are required to pay at least $15.00 per hour, aligning with the state minimum.

Howard County

For employers with 15 or more employees, the minimum wage matches the state rate of $15.00 per hour as of January 1, 2024. However, smaller businesses with fewer than 15 employees should prepare for incremental increases, aiming for $15.50 by January 1, 2026, and eventually reaching $16.00 by July 1, 2026.

Minimum Hourly Wages for Tipped Employees in Maryland

In Maryland, the law stipulates specific guidelines for compensating tipped employees, who typically earn more than $30 per month in tips. For these workers, the state's minimum wage rate serves as a key reference for total hourly earnings. Employers are mandated to pay tipped employees at least $3.63 per hour in direct wages. This base pay, combined with the tips received, must cumulatively meet or exceed the state minimum wage rate.

Moreover, it's crucial for restaurant owners utilizing a tip credit system to provide a transparent breakdown of wages. This entails supplying a written or electronic wage statement each pay period, detailing the employee's effective hourly rate. This statement must include both the cash wages paid by the employer and the tips earned, ensuring that the total meets the state minimum wage for the hours worked during that week.

How Tip Credit Works

The concept of a tip credit is integral to understanding how minimum wage functions for tipped employees in Maryland. A tip credit allows employers to pay a lower direct wage to tipped employees on the condition that the tips received make up the difference in reaching the state minimum wage. 

Overtime Pay in Maryland

In Maryland, the rule of thumb is that employees should be compensated at 1.5 times their standard hourly rate for any work exceeding 40 hours per week. However, there are specific exemptions to this rule that business owners should be aware of:

  1. Bowling establishments and care institutions (excluding hospitals) that offer on-site services to the sick, elderly, or disabled are required to pay overtime only after 48 hours of work per week.

  2. Agricultural workers see this threshold extended to 60 hours per week.

Exemptions to Minimum Wage and Overtime Regulations

Certain employee categories are exempt from minimum wage and overtime regulations under specific conditions. These exemptions include:

  • Immediate family members of the employer

  • Some agricultural employees

  • Executives, administrative, and professional employees

  • Volunteers for certain non-profit organizations

  • Young employees under 16 working fewer than 20 hours per week

  • Outside salespersons and commissioned employees

  • Trainees in public school special education programs

  • Non-administrative employees at organized camps

  • Small food and drink establishments grossing under $400,000 annually

  • Drive-in theaters

  • First processors of certain food products

Additionally, certain employees are exempt from overtime but must still be paid at least the state minimum wage, including:

  • Taxicab drivers

  • Employees in auto, farm equipment, trailer, or truck sales/service

  • Non-profit promoters of concerts, theaters, festivals, or shows

  • Employees under U.S. Department of Transportation or Interstate Commerce regulations

  • Seasonal amusement and recreational establishments meeting specific criteria

Calculation of Overtime Pay in Maryland

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of calculating overtime pay in Maryland, starting with the foundation of determining the regular hourly wage.

Step 1: Determine the Regular Hourly Wage

Begin by identifying the employee's regular hourly wage. Given the increase in the minimum wage in Maryland to $15.00 per hour, this will be the baseline for employees earning the minimum wage. For employees earning more, use their specific hourly rate.

Step 2: Calculate the Overtime Rate

The overtime rate is one and a half times (1.5x) the employee's regular hourly rate. This is mandated by federal and state labor laws for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

For an employee earning the minimum wage of $15.00 per hour, the calculation would be $15.00 x 1.5 = $22.50 per hour.

Step 3: Identify Total Hours Worked

Record the total number of hours each employee works in a week. Any hours worked over 40 in a single workweek are considered overtime.

Step 4: Separate Regular and Overtime Hours

Split the total hours into two categories: regular hours (up to 40) and overtime hours (any hours over 40).

Step 5: Calculate Regular and Overtime Pay

Multiply the regular hours (up to 40) by the regular hourly wage to calculate regular pay.

Multiply the overtime hours by the overtime rate to calculate overtime pay.

Step 6: Total the Pay

Add the regular pay and the overtime pay together to get the total pay for the week.

Example Calculation

Let's consider an employee who worked 50 hours in a particular week at a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.

1. Regular Pay Calculation:

  • 40 hours (regular hours) x $15.00/hour = $600.00

2. Overtime Pay Calculation:

  • 10 hours (overtime hours) x $22.50/hour (overtime rate) = $225.00

3. Total Weekly Pay:

  • Regular Pay ($600.00) + Overtime Pay ($225.00) = $825.00

By adhering to these steps, you can guarantee that your overtime pay calculations are accurate, fully compliant with our state's labor laws, and actively uphold the rights and well-being of your valued employees.

Maryland Minimum Wage vs Federal Minimum Wage

Understanding the differences between the state and federal minimum wage rates is crucial for ensuring compliance and making informed decisions about your payroll. Here, we'll explore how Maryland's minimum wage measures up against the federal standard and what this means for your business.

Federal Minimum Wage

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the baseline for minimum wage across the United States. As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage has been set at $7.25 per hour. This rate applies to most employees in the private sector and those working for federal, state, and local governments. The FLSA also mandates overtime pay at one and a half times the regular rate after 40 work hours in a single workweek.

State Minimum Wage

Maryland has taken a progressive stance by setting the statewide minimum wage at $15.00 per hour starting January 1, 2024, for employers of all sizes. This is a significant increase from the previous rate of $13.25 per hour. In instances where both state and federal minimum wages apply, employees are entitled to the higher of the two.

Maryland Minimum Wage & Labor Law Posters

As an employer in Maryland, it’s your responsibility to keep your workforce informed about their rights and your obligations. This includes the mandatory display of various employment-related posters in your establishment. 

These posters cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to whistleblower protections, anti-discrimination policies, workplace safety, workers’ compensation, wage and hour standards, family and medical leave rights, employee polygraph protections, youth employment, equal pay initiatives, and guidelines on earned sick and safe leave, unemployment insurance, and health insurance coverage. 

The Maryland Department of Labor, along with other agencies such as the Department of Budget and Management, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, mandates these requirements. 

For comprehensive details and to obtain these posters, visiting the Maryland Department of Labor's website is advised.

Historical Minimum Wage Rates in Maryland

To understand where we are headed, it's crucial to look back at where we've been. Maryland's journey with its minimum wage has seen a significant progression from 2014 to 2024. Starting at $7.25 a decade ago, the state has made annual adjustments, reaching a landmark figure of $15.00 in 2024. This steady increase demonstrates Maryland's proactive approach to addressing the cost of living and economic conditions, ensuring workers receive fair compensation for their efforts. Here's an overview of the minimum wage growth over the years:

2014: $7.25

2015: $8.00

2016: $8.75

2017: $9.25

2018: $10.10

2019: $10.10

2020: $11.00

2021: $11.75

2022: $12.50

2023: $13.25

2024: $15.00

This historical perspective highlights the steady wage growth, culminating in the significant increase to $15.00 in 2024. This progression emphasizes the state’s commitment to ensuring a fair wage for all workers.

Source: Labor Law Center

How is the Maryland Minimum Wage Set?

The process of setting the minimum wage in Maryland is governed by the Fair Wage Act, establishing a standard hourly wage for workers throughout the state. This Act ensures a baseline for earnings, irrespective of the employer's size. 

However, it's worth noting that counties within Maryland, like Montgomery and Howard, may enforce higher minimum wages than the statewide mandate if they choose to. 

Furthermore, future adjustments to the minimum wage will closely follow changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), ensuring that wage rates reflect economic conditions.

Implications for Restaurant Owners

The recent increase in the Maryland minimum wage presents various challenges and opportunities for restaurant owners, from managing increased labor costs to enhancing employee satisfaction. Here's how these changes could affect your restaurant:

1. Higher Labor Costs

The increase in Maryland’s minimum wage directly translates to elevated labor costs for your restaurant. As the minimum wage rises, so does your wage expenditure, significantly impacting your budget and financial forecasting. This adjustment requires careful financial planning to ensure the sustainability of your business, as payroll expenses become a larger portion of your overall costs.

2. Pricing Adjustments

To offset the rise in labor costs, reconsidering your pricing strategy becomes inevitable. Adjusting your menu prices may be necessary to preserve your profit margins. However, you must do this thoughtfully to avoid alienating your customer base. It’s a delicate balance between covering increased costs and maintaining customer loyalty through reasonable pricing.

3. Staffing Considerations

The adjustment in minimum wage also compels a reevaluation of staffing strategies. Efficient workforce management becomes more crucial as labor costs rise. You may find it necessary to optimize staffing levels, particularly during peak and off-peak hours, to ensure that labor costs are aligned with revenue generation, without compromising service quality.

4. Employee Retention and Morale

On a positive note, an upswing in minimum wage can significantly boost employee morale and retention. By offering competitive pay, your restaurant becomes a more attractive workplace, potentially drawing in top talent and reducing turnover rates. This not only cuts down on recurrent training expenses but also fosters a more experienced, motivated, and stable workforce.

The Impact of the Recent Minimum Wage Increase on Your Business

The minimum wage increase in Maryland doesn't just mean higher pay for employees. It signifies a ripple effect through various aspects of your business:

1. Operating Costs: You may notice a surge in the prices from suppliers and vendors as they, too, grapple with wage increases. This chain reaction can elevate your cost of goods sold (COGS), compelling you to reassess your budgeting and financial management strategies to keep your operating costs in check.

2. Competitiveness: With the uptick in labor costs, adjusting your pricing strategy becomes inevitable to sustain your business. However, this raises the challenge of staying competitive without compromising quality or service. It’s a delicate balance to strike, ensuring that your pricing adjustments do not deter loyal customers while attracting new ones in a competitive market.

3. Profit Margins: The enhanced minimum wage can put pressure on your profit margins. In response, it’s essential to look for innovative ways to enhance operational efficiency and cut down on unnecessary expenses. Streamlining processes, reducing waste, and optimizing resource utilization are key strategies to maintain profitability amidst rising labor costs.

Strategies for Restaurant Businesses to Adapt to the Recent Minimum Wage Increase

Adapting to the Maryland minimum wage increase requires thoughtful strategy and adaptability. Here are several approaches to consider for mitigating the impact on your business:

1. Optimize Operations

Efficiency is key in managing increased labor costs. You can significantly offset the impact of higher wages by streamlining operations, such as implementing effective scheduling to match customer demand, reducing waste through careful inventory management, and optimizing every aspect of your restaurant’s operations. These measures not only reduce costs but can also enhance the customer experience.

2. Leverage Technology

Technology plays a crucial role in modern restaurant management. Investing in advanced restaurant technology, like state-of-the-art POS systems, can dramatically improve operational efficiency.

Here are other technological solutions that can enhance efficiency and reduce labor costs:

  • Kitchen Automation: Introduce kitchen display systems to streamline order processing and reduce errors.

  • Restaurant Automation: Consider automation in order taking and reservations to reduce staffing needs.

  • QR Code Ordering: Implement QR code menus to allow customers to order directly from their smartphones, reducing the need for waitstaff.

  • Tablet POS Systems: Tablets can be used for tableside ordering, speeding up service, and improving customer satisfaction.

  • Handheld POS System: For busy establishments, handheld POS devices can facilitate faster ordering and payment processing.

  • Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS): mPOS systems offer flexibility for payments anywhere in the restaurant, ideal for fast-casual environments.

  • Self-Service Kiosks: Kiosks can handle order taking and payments, allowing you to reallocate staff to other areas of operation.

These technologies not only improve operational efficiency but also enhance the customer experience, contributing to higher satisfaction and return rates.

3. Revise Menu and Pricing

Adjusting your menu to include higher-margin items, and carefully increasing prices can help absorb higher labor costs. This strategy involves a delicate balance to ensure price hikes do not alienate customers. Introducing new, cost-effective dishes that maintain your restaurant’s quality, and including a selection of wine in the prix fixe menu can attract customers and improve profit margins.

4. Focus on Quality and Service

Differentiating your establishment through superior quality and service can justify premium pricing. Customers are often willing to pay more for exceptional dining experiences. Investing in staff training and ensuring high-quality ingredients can set your restaurant apart, mitigating the impact of increased operational costs.

5. Explore Additional Revenue Streams

Diversifying your income is another strategy to consider. Offering catering services, expanding delivery options, or hosting special events can open new revenue streams. These initiatives can help compensate for the increased costs associated with higher wages, ensuring your restaurant remains profitable and competitive.


The recent adjustment to the Maryland minimum wage marks a crucial moment for your business. It's an opportunity to reevaluate, innovate, and even improve your operational efficiency and employee satisfaction. While the path ahead may seem daunting, with strategic planning and the right tools, you can turn these challenges into opportunities for growth.

To help you seamlessly navigate these minimum wage adjustments, consider booking a free demo or consultation with Chowbus POS. Our restaurant technology solutions can assist you in efficiently managing your business, reducing monthly labor expenses by over $8,000, and boosting business growth by 25%. Take the first step towards optimizing your operations in the face of Maryland's minimum wage changes—book your free demo with Chowbus POS today!

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Minimum Wage in Maryland

Discover answers to common inquiries regarding the minimum wage in Maryland, including whether it will rise to $15 an hour and what constitutes full-time work in the state.

Is Maryland Minimum Wage Going Up to $15 an Hour?

Yes, Maryland's minimum wage has increased to $15 an hour starting January 1, 2024. This adjustment applies to all companies within the state, requiring them to pay minimum wage employees at this new rate​​.

Is 32 Hours Full-Time in Maryland?

In Maryland, a full-time employee is defined, according to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as someone who works an average of 30 hours per week, or 130 hours per month. Therefore, working 32 hours per week exceeds the state’s full-time employment threshold per the ACA guidelines. This classification is part of Maryland's policy for identifying full-time employees under the ACA's Play or Pay Mandate, aligning with the federal definition of a full-time employee.

How Many Hours is Full Time in Maryland?

In Maryland and across the United States, the definition of full-time employment is generally determined by the employer rather than by specific state laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not define full-time or part-time employment. This classification is typically left to the discretion of employers. 

However, for purposes related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), full-time employment is commonly defined as working at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month. This definition is crucial for large employers who are required to provide health insurance to full-time employees under the ACA. Companies have the autonomy to offer benefits to employees working fewer hours, but there is no federal mandate requiring them to do so for those considered part-time, typically less than 30 hours per week​.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice. The details provided about the Maryland minimum wage updates for 2024 are based on current legislation as of the date of writing and are subject to change. We recommend consulting with a legal or financial professional to understand how these changes may specifically impact your business operations and compliance requirements.


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