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By Garrett Dvorkin
Baltimore Business Journal, March 13, 2023

Gina Schaefer is going to raise the minimum wage at her ACE Hardware stores ... and keep raising it to match inflation every year, no matter what the Maryland General Assembly does this year.

Schafer, who operates 15 stores in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., has a policy to pay employees based on the highest salary requirements of all her store locations. D.C. moves its minimum wage from $16.10 to $17 on July 1, and will increase the minimum wage to keep up with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) — which measures inflationary pressure on consumers. All employees across Schafer’s stores will be getting a pay bump when the D.C. policies go into effect.

“Our Baltimore stores have a turnover rate of less than 25%, and we believe a big part of that is because of our pay and benefits,” Schaefer said. “We don’t want our employees to be looking for jobs and we have lower turnover costs."

Maryland won't be following D.C.'s lead despite Gov. Wes Moore's attempt to link a minimum wage increase to the CPI. The index proposal didn't make it past the state Senate Finance Committee on Friday, nor did a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by Oct. 1. The Senate panel did approve raising the minimum wage to $15 by Jan. 1, 2024. ...

The change to $15 an hour — once hotly debated — has been accepted by many businesses because a tight labor market demanded that price and more. ...

Correction/Clarification: A previous version of this story said the minimum wage was increasing to $16.10.

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