Montgomery Considers Raising County’s Tipped Minimum Wage

Montgomery County will consider a bill to raise the tipped minimum wage inside the county to $6 by July 2025.8

The Montgomery County Council introduced a bill to raise the base minimum wage for tipped employees working inside the county. Currently, workers who rely on tips — primarily restaurant and hospitality staff, like servers — are required by county law to be paid $4 per hour (before tips).

Council Bill 35-23 would require employers of tipped workers to pay a full minimum wage with tips on top. If passed, the minimum wage would increase to $6 in July 2024, $8 in July 2025, and so on in increasing increments of $2 until reaching the same rate as the standard minimum wage.

Presently, Montgomery County’s minimum wage for non-tipped workers is $16.70 for employers with 51 or more employees, $15 for employers with 50 or fewer employees, and $14.50 for employers with 10 or fewer employees.

The bill was cosponsored by Councilmembers Will Jawando and Kristin Mink.

A press release reads:

The bill will phase out the subminimum wage in the county, which does not currently reflect the value and dignity of our restaurant workers. In addition, the legislation addresses the challenges Montgomery County businesses may face in retaining staff because of neighboring Washington, D.C., which has begun phasing out the sub-minimum wage for service workers through passage of Initiative 82, which D.C. voters approved by nearly 74 percent.

According to MoCo 360 reporting, the bill sponsors are taking lessons from D.C.’s law to make Montgomery County’s transition smooth:

Jawando and Mink said they are hoping to learn from issues seen from D.C.’s law, which is one reason for staggering the increase. In D.C., the $5.35 minimum was first increased to $6 in May, and then jumped again to $8 in July. This led many restaurants to add service charges, according to Axios.

The Montgomery County legislation intentionally implements a year between each increase. Jawando said this is to allow business owners more time to plan, budget and adapt.

Learn more about Bill 35-23.