Introduced by the Howard County Council in November 2021 and signed by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on December 13, 2021, Council Bill No. 82-2021 establishes a series of local minimum wage increases for employees working in Howard County beginning April 1, 2022. This bill calls for the minimum wage in Howard County to gradually rise to $16.00 per hour by January 1, 2026, with increases set after that by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) starting in January 2027.
Below is a chart of the changes in the minimum wage as set by the Howard County Council.
|Effective Date||Employers||Smaller Employers||HC Government|
|April 1, 2022||$14.00 per hour||$12.50 per hour|
|July 1, 2022||$15.00 per hour|
|January 1, 2023||$15.00 per hour||$13.25 per hour|
|January 1, 2024||$14.00 per hour|
|July 1, 2024||$16.00 per hour|
|January 1, 2025||$16.00 per hour||$14.75 per hour|
|January 1, 2026||$15.50 per hour|
|July 1, 2026||$16.00 per hour|
** On January 1, 2025, food service facilities with 15 or more employees will be required to pay a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour as required under State law and local ordinance.
The Howard County Council will hold a meeting to discuss the local minimum wage for Howard County once every four years. The meeting is to be held in the year following the election of the County Council members. As part of the meeting, the County Council shall consider:
- The cost of living in Howard County, including the cost of housing, childcare and food, utilities and other household expenses;
- The status of workforce development programs and opportunities in Howard County; and
- The poverty level in Howard County and the surrounding region.
Frequent Asked Questions
What is Council Bill No. 82-2021?
Council Bill No. 82-2021 establishes a series of local minimum wage increases for employees working in Howard County beginning April 1, 2022. This bill calls for the minimum wage in Howard County to gradually rise to $16.00 per hour by January 1, 2026, with increases set after that by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) starting in January 2027.
Of note, Howard County Government will raise its minimum wage to $15.00 on July 1, 2022 and to $16.00 on July 1, 2024, two years before the 2026 deadline date.
What employers does this wage increase apply to?
This wage increase applies to any employer, meaning any person, individual, proprietorship, partnership, joint venture, corporation, limited liability company, trust, association, or other entity, that is operating and doing business in Howard County and employs one or more persons, in addition to the owners.
This includes Howard County Government and the Howard County Public School System.
It does not pertain to the United States, any State or any other local government operating in Howard County.
What is a small employer?
A small employee is considered:
- An employer that employs 14 or fewer employees, which is defined a small employer under the Maryland Wage and Hour Law, specifically Labor and Employment Article of the Maryland Code, § 3-413(a)(3);
- An employer that has tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
- An employer that provides “home health services” as defined by 42 C.F.R. § 440.70 or “home or community-based services” as defined by 42 C.F.R. § 440.180, and receives at least 75 percent of gross revenues through State and Federal Medicaid programs; or
- A food service facility of any size as defined in Chapter 10.15.03.02 of the Code of Maryland Regulations.
What employees does this minimum wage increase apply to?
This increase applies to:
- Any person permitted or instructed to work or be present by an employer in Howard County, and
- Who is subject to the minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and “Maryland Wage and Hour Law” in Subtitle 4 of Title 3 of the Labor and Employment Article of the Maryland Code.
NOTE: A TIPPED EMPLOYEE is an employee who (1) is engaged in an occupation in which the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 each month in tips; (2) has been informed by the employer about the provisions of the law; and (3) has kept all of the tips that the employee received. This does not prohibit the pooling of tips. The tip credit amount that the employer takes shall not exceed the County minimum wage of less than $3.63 per hour. For more information about the allowable tip credits, click HERE.
What employees does this minimum wage increase not apply to?
The wage increase, however, does not apply to individuals:
- Under the age of 18. However, an employer must pay employees under 18 a wage that is equal to at least 85 percent of the County minimum wage established by Council Bill No. 82-2021.
- Under the age of 16 and employed no more than 20 hours a week.
- Employed as part of training in a special education program for emotionally, mentally or physically handicapped students under Howard County Public School System.
- Employed as a hand-harvest laborer and paid on a piece-rate basis in an operation that, in the region of employment, has been customarily and generally recognized as having been paid on that basis if:
- The Individual:
- Commutes daily from the permanent residence of the individual to the farm where the individual is employed; and
- During the preceding calendar year was employed in agriculture less than 13 weeks.
- The Individual:
- Is under the age of 17;
- Is employed on the same farm as a parent of the individual or a person standing in the place of the parent; and
- Is paid at the same rate that an employee who is at least 17 years old is paid on the same farm
- The Individual:
- Who are the child, parent, spouse or other member of the immediate family of the employer.
- Employed in a non-administrative capacity at an organized camp, including a resident or day camp.
- Engaged in activities of a charitable, educational, nonprofit or religious organization if the service is provided gratuitously and there is, in fact, no employer-employee relationship.
Who enforces the minimum wage ordinance?
The minimum wage ordinance will be enforced by the Maryland Department of Labor. For more information or to file a complaint, contact:
- By mail: Maryland Department of Labor, Division of Labor and Industry - Employment Standards Service, 10946 Golden West Drive, Suite 160, Hunt Valley, MD 21031
- By phone: (410) 767-2357
- By fax: (410) 333-7303
- By e-mail: [email protected]