Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III signed a bill Tuesday raising the minimum wage in the county to $8.40 per hour, and increasing to $11.50 per hour over the next four years.
County Bill 94-2013, approved unanimously by the Prince George’s County Council on Nov. 27, will raise the county’s minimum wage from its current $7.55 per hour to $8.40 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2014.
The minimum wage will increase to $9.55 per hour beginning Oct. 1, 2015, unless the state or federal minimum wage is set higher.
The bill stipulates that the minimum wage will be raised to $10.75 per hour starting Oct. 1, 2016, and $11.50 per hour starting Oct. 1, 2017, unless the state or federal mandated minimum wage is higher.
If state or federal minimum wages are set higher, the higher amounts would go into effect, according to the bill.
“With our state and county’s economy moving into a modest upswing, it is absolutely essential that we increase the minimum wage rate for the countless men and women who work earnestly to provide for themselves and their families,” Baker said in a statement.
Per the bill, the minimum wage increase does not apply to those under the age of 19 working no more than 20 hours a week, or to tipped employees such as restaurant servers.
Karina Rosato, the Landover-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 spokesperson, said the union fully supports minimum wage increases in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and in Washington, D.C.
“We feel that if the wages of people at the bottom are raised, then everyone will benefit,” Rosato said. “When people have more money to spend, they will tend to spend it locally, boosting our local businesses.”
County Councilman Eric Olson (Dist. 3) of College Park said Prince George’s County is helping to lead the way nationally in raising the minimum wage.
“I think that it’s a great thing that our region is stepping up and helping our lowest wage earners do a little bit better,” Olson said. “Everyone who lives and works here should be a little bit better off.”