Proposed bill could make 80,000 Maryland workers eligible for overtime
- Maryland could make an additional 80,000 salaried workers eligible for overtime pay, according to Maryland Reporter. Proposed legislation would raise the salary cap in the state from $455 to $913 a week, or from $23,660 to $47,476 a year.
- The Reporter says the bill has business groups and nonprofit organizations strongly opposing the measure because it would mean costly pay increases. But the bill’s proponents argue that many salaried workers put in long hours for which they’re not compensated.
- Maryland’s overtime bill mirrors the federal government’s rule as proposed under the Obama administration. Testifying before the House Economic Matters Committee on Tuesday, Melvin Thompson of the Restaurant Association of Maryland said that the bill disregards restaurant workers who have moved up in their organizations into salaried positions.
Both the bill’s proponents and opponents make solid points in their arguments. Salaried workers earning less than $40,000 annually have worked long hours without extra pay for decades.
State delegate Jimmy Tarlau (D) testified before the committee, saying that a fast food manager making $455 a week could put in 76 hours a week and earn just $7 an hour, which is below the federal minimum wage.
Conversely, more hourly employees in the workplace could seriously strain the payroll budgets of small businesses and cash-strapped nonprofits.
Maryland joins New York in proposing its own revised overtime threshold. The federal overtime rule, which had a Dec. 1 enactment date, is tied up in the courts and could be rescinded under the Trump administration. Given the uncertainty around federal overtime policy, it will be interesting to see whether other states take leadership of such issues by passing their own revisions.
In a similar move to support workers, the same Maryland House committee voted to approve a paid sick leave bill on Thursday.