- June 11, 2020
- Maryland Center for Economic Policy
- MDCEP Staff
The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on Maryland communities’ deep reliance on the workers who keep families fed, care for aging adults, and maintain sanitary public spaces. Yet these same workers too often take home wages that cannot support a family, let alone compensate for the daily risks their jobs require. As policymakers respond to the growing economic crisis, they must recognize the need to support the essential workers who support the rest of us. This means strengthening basic protections like the minimum wage and the right to earn paid sick days—not walking back the promises they have already made. Freezing Maryland’s minimum wage at its current, inadequate level would harm the very people now holding up our communities, weaken Maryland’s economy, and ultimately make us all worse off:
- Freezing the minimum wage would cost a typical low-wage worker more than $7,000 in lost wages by 2025, even as basics like housing and health care continue to become more unaffordable. A proposed—though legally dubious—two-year freeze would cost a typical worker well over $14,000 by 2026.
- Freezing the minimum wage would do outsized harm to women and workers of color who are overrepresented in low-wage jobs.
- Freezing the minimum wage would depress consumer spending and weaken Maryland’s economy for years to come.
Further, corporate lobbyists’ recent claims about ignore the best research on the economics of the minimum wage.