New Minimum Wage Compliance Could Cost OC $188K

OCEAN CITY — Complying with the next step in the minimum wage increase will likely cost the town of Ocean City over $188,000 annually, but an added benefit could be an upgrade in the quality of applicants for temporary seasonal employees.

For the last several years, the minimum wage in Maryland has gone up incrementally and will reach a new height at $10.10 per hour on July 1. Throughout the incremental increase process, the town’s human resources department has made the necessary adjustments in the overall pay scale for employees to absorb the changes. On Monday, Human Resources Director Wayne Evans presented a recommendation that will help the town absorb the last step in the minimum wage increase process.

“A 2-percent pay table adjustment is recommended,” he said. “The minimum wage increase will be totally absorbed, but it is going to impact the bottom end of the pay scale.”

Evans explained the incremental 2-percent increase would affect many of the hundreds of temporary and seasonal workers each summer. He said the town hires roughly 730 seasonal employees each year.

“The approximate cost of complying with the minimum wage increase and maintaining an equitable and competitive general employee pay table is $188,800 annually,” he said. “What we’re talking about at the end of the day is an annual increase primarily in the temporary and part-time seasonal workforce.”

Evans said while the 2-percent increase is directed at the lower end of the pay scale, it could improve the hourly wage rate for many other seasonal employees

“Coming up with a 2-percent adjustment is consistent with what we’ve seen in the marketplace,” he said. “The adjustment enhances competitiveness for positions like seasonal police officers, surf rescue technicians, bus drivers and solid waste drivers. All of those positions pose recruiting challenges because of the training and certifications required.”

In addition, the pay scale increase could enhance the town’s ability to recruit and hire other important seasonal employees.

“This will also help with a lot of the other seasonal people we hire, the people who keep the comfort stations on the Boardwalk clean or help keep the beach clean,” he said. “This increase should attract a good quality group of applications and keep us competitive in the marketplace.”

The council approved the recommended 2-percent adjustment in the town’s pay scale.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.