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Maryland Wage, Hour, and Overtime Laws

Employers are required to pay their employees according to certain minimum standards set out by federal and state statutes. On the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act sets out the minimum wage, overtime wage, recordkeeping, and child labor standards for the country. Maryland's law is sometimes stricter than the federal one-for example, the minimum wage is higher in Maryland.

On this page, we discuss the Maryland Department of Labor's general wage laws, minimum wage laws, and overtime laws. We also provide examples of verdicts and settlements that have been won when employees sue their employers for violations of these laws. To explore a particular topic, follow the links below.

General Wage Laws

It goes without saying that Maryland employers must pay employees for all time worked. The Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law states that employers are required to have regular pay periods and pay their employees at least every two weeks or twice a month. Additionally, they must notify employees at the start of their employment what their pay rate and pay period are.

If an employer needs to cut an employee's pay, they must notify the employee at least one week in advance. Employers cannot take money out of an employee's paycheck without a lawful reason or the express agreement of the employee.

If an employee leaves their job or is fired, employers must pay the employee any remaining pay they are due up until the date of termination, unless the employer has a written policy saying otherwise.

Employers must keep a record of their employee's employment information for at least three years, including their name, address, occupation, wage, pay period, and hours.

What is the Minimum Wage in Maryland?

The minimum wage is the minimum amount that employers in Maryland are required to pay their employees. It is illegal for an employer to pay less than the minimum wage as set out by Maryland statute.

"Maryland's minimum wage is gradually increasing to $15 per hour."

The minimum wage in Maryland is gradually increasing with the goal of a $15 minimum wage by July 2026 for small employers and by January 2025 for all other employers. A small employer is defined as an employer with 14 or fewer employees.

The schedule for meeting this goal, defined in the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (specifically, §3-413 of Maryland's Labor & Employment Article), is as follows:

The minimum hourly wage for employers with greater than 14 employees

FromToMinimum hourly wage
July 1, 2017June 30, 2017$9.25
July 1, 2018December 31, 2019$10.10
January 1, 2020December 31, 2020$11.00
January 1, 2021December 31, 2021$11.75
January 1, 2022December 31, 2022$12.50
January 1, 2023December 31, 2023$13.25
January 1, 2024December 31, 2024$14.00
January 1, 2025n/a$15.00

The minimum hourly wage for employers with fewer than 14 employees

FromToMinimum hourly wage
July 1, 2018December 31, 2019$10.10
January 1, 2020December 31, 2020$11.00
January 1, 2021December 31, 2021$11.60
January 1, 2022December 31, 2022$12.20
January 1, 2023December 31, 2023$12.80
January 1, 2024December 31, 2024$13.40
January 1, 2025December 31, 2025$14.00
January 1, 2026May 31, 2026$14.60
June 1, 2026n/a$15.00

There are some exceptions to the minimum wage requirements. Employees under 18 years of age may be paid 85% of the state minimum wage. Tipped employees must be paid at least $3.63/hour and their tips must bring their wages up to the state minimum wage. Those who work in interstate commerce are subject to the $7.25/hour federal minimum wage. Other exemptions from the minimum wage requirements include:

  • Executives, administrators, or professional employees (salaried)
  • Non-administrative employees of camps
  • Employees under the age of 16 who work less than 20 hours a week
  • Outside salespeople
  • Those paid on a commission basis
  • Immediate family members of the employer
  • Drive-in theater employees
  • Special education trainees in public schools
  • Volunteers who provide non-profit, religious, educational, or charitable services at no charge and who have no employee-employer relationship
  • Employees who sell food and drink at cafés, drive-ins, drugstores, restaurants, or similar workplaces with an annual gross income of $400,000 a year or less
  • Some agricultural workers
    • Employers involved in the canning, packing, freezing, or first processing of perishable or seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables, horticultural commodities, poultry, or seafood
    • Employees principally involved in the range production of livestock
    • Agricultural employers who used 500 or fewer agricultural-worker days per quarter in the last calendar year
    • Hand-harvest laborers paid on a piece-rate basis at a rate customary in that area if the worker commutes daily to the farm and worked less than 13 weeks in agriculture during the last calendar year, or if the worker is younger than 17, is working on the same farm as their parent or standing in for a parent, and is paid at the same rate as someone who is at least 17 on the same farm

Note that some counties, too, have their own minimum wage laws.

What are the Prevailing Wage and Living Wage Laws?

These laws apply specifically to employers who are doing a project for the Maryland state government. The living wage law applies to some contractors and subcontractors who have service contracts with the Maryland state government. Similarly, the prevailing wage applies to some contractors and subcontractors who are involved in public works construction with the state. Each year, the minimum wage that these contractors are required to pay their employees is updated.

Living wage employers are required to pay most employees at least $14.24/hour in Prince George's County, Montgomery County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County and $11/hour in other counties.

The prevailing wage rate is based on the type of craftsperson (painter, electrician, etc.) and the rate typically charged for that service in a particular county. Montgomery county has its own prevailing wage rates.

What are Maryland's Overtime Laws?

Most employees must be paid 1.5 times their normal salary for any work in excess of a 40-hour workweek. Employees at bowling alleys or on-premise care facilities other than hospitals must work more than 48 hours to earn the increased overtime wage, and agricultural workers must work more than 60 hours for the increased overtime wage.

"Overtime hours must be compensated at a rate 1.5 times higher than the normal salary."

Exemptions to Maryland's overtime laws are the same as the minimum wage exemptions listed above with the addition of employees who earn minimum wage working the following jobs:

  • Taxicab drivers
  • Certain sellers of automobiles, farm equipment, trailers, or trucks
  • Non-profit concert promoters and theater, theatrical show, or music festival/pavilion employers
  • Those for whom the US Department of Transportation sets maximum hours
  • Certain railroad employees
  • Seasonal amusement or recreational establishments, including pools
Maryland's Overtime
I have a Complaint, What are my Options?

If you were not properly compensated for your work, there are three options to rectify this situation if your employer is not cooperating.

First, you can file a claim with the Maryland Department of Labor. Your employer will receive a letter notifying them to pay the unpaid wages. If the employer still does not pay, the Employment Standards Service (ESS) will conduct an investigation.

"If you were not paid for your work, you can file a claim with Maryland state government, file a civil lawsuit, or file criminal charges."

Secondly, you can file a civil claim, or in other words, you can file a lawsuit. You may be able to be awarded up to three times the amount of your unpaid wages, interest, penalties, and be compensated for the cost of hiring an attorney.

Third, you can file criminal charges. In some cases, Maryland may prosecute employers who refuse to pay their employees for no reason or who never intended to pay someone they hired.

Sample Verdicts and Settlements

Employers are often sued by multiple employees at the same time for wage violations. This is known as a class-action lawsuit, or a global settlement. With large companies, these lawsuits can have thousands of plaintiffs.

The value of your case will depend on how long you were being underpaid and the value of your wages. Additionally, the interest on your unpaid wages goes up the longer you have not been paid. Maryland tends to take these cases seriously and will make sure you get compensated for more than what you lost if a jury finds against your employer.

Below are examples of settlements and verdicts in wage and overtime lawsuits from across the United States. Some are class-action lawsuits and are thus worth many millions of dollars in total. Individual plaintiffs receive a fraction of the overall settlement. Others are lawsuits with just one plaintiff and are worth thousands of dollars. We provide these examples to help potential plaintiffs understand what their case might be worth.

  • November 2019, California: $26 Million Settlement 38,000 McDonald's cashiers and cooks in California sued the fast-food chain for underpaying them. Allegedly, McDonald's was using a timekeeping system that did not pay workers for overtime. Additionally, workers were often deprived of the breaks that they were lawfully due and had to pay out of pocket to have their outdated uniforms cleaned and ironed. First filed back in 2013, McDonald's agreed to settle the claim in late 2019.
  • October 2019, Connecticut: $39,000 Settlement A restaurant in Connecticut was investigated by the US Department of Labor. They found that the restaurant did not pay its employees the federal minimum wage for all the hours that they worked. Instead they were paid a flat rate. Additionally, the workers were not paid an increased wage for working overtime. Fourteen workers from the restaurant will be paid a total of $39K to compensate them for the wages they are due.
  • March 2019, California: $7.5 Million Settlement In another class-action lawsuit, a Comcast contractor was sued. Allegedly, the contractor did not pay their employees overtime, did not give them adequate lunch breaks, and sometimes made them buy their own tools. One worker reported that if he did not underreport his hours himself, the company would change his timecards. The $7.5 million settlement will compensate some 4,500 techs.
  • February 2017, North Carolina: $170,000 Verdict A man worked in security and maintenance for his employer. Over a three-year period, he often worked seven days a week, far in excess of a 40-hour workweek. He turned in timecards for his regular hours, but his employers told him to record his overtime separately to be paid at a later date. The man sued, and in the lawsuit, his attorneys were easily able to prove that the man's employers knew that he was working overtime and never paid him for his extra hours.
Contact Us

The Maryland employment lawyers at Miller & Zois may be able to help you recover your unpaid wages. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case by calling (800) 553-8082 or by filling out our brief online form.

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