Md. Minimum Wage Workers to Receive 40-Cent Pay Raise on Thursday

WASHINGTON (July 22, 2008) – On Thursday, July 24, approximately 64,000 Maryland workers will get a 40-cent raise when the federal minimum wage increases to $6.55. The current minimum wage in Maryland is $6.15. The increase is the result of legislation passed by the Congress to gradually bring the new federal minimum wage to $7.25 by July 2009.

In Maryland, the 40-cent increase will mean an additional $800 before taxes for a worker putting in 40 hours of work per week for 50 weeks a year.

Before the new federal minimum wage was enacted last May, previous Republican-led Congresses left the minimum rate of $5.15 untouched for 11 years—the longest gap between adjustments in history. Maryland increased the State's minimum wage to compensate for the low federal standard.

Inflation and increases in the cost of living since the last federal increase resulted in the value of the minimum wage dropping to its lowest point in 50 years. The failure to increase the wage rate was not merely a pay freeze for low-wage American workers, but an annual pay cut in terms of true purchasing power.

“Increasing the federal minimum wage was a key goal of the new Democratic majority in Congress, which passed the increase as one of its first orders of business and fought to have it signed into law,” said southern Maryland's Rep. Steny Hoyer (D). “Our country was built on a promise: that hard work and perseverance are the way to a better life. It’s a promise I’m glad the 110th Congress has fought to ensure.”

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