New Laws Take Effect Across the Region

A new year means that several new laws of interest to dealers are now in effect across the Washington area.

Notably, the minimum wage in Maryland is now up slightly – from $11 an hour to either $11.60 or $11.75, depending on the size of the employer. Businesses with 15 or more employees are subject to the higher wage, and businesses that are smaller than that must comply with the lower amount. Montgomery County’s minimum hourly wage, which is higher than the state’s, a has increased from $13 to $14.

Virginia’s minimum hourly wage had been set to increase from the federal minimum of $7.25 to $9.50, but implementation has been delayed until May 1. On Jan. 1, 2022, the minimum hourly wage will increase further to $11.

As we noted previously, the Maryland MVA has posted guidance related to a new law mandating that all motor vehicle-related lien releases must be filed with the administration within five business days of the lien being paid off. In addition, Prince George’s County now requires that drivers who have had their vehicles impounded must pay off all outstanding traffic tickets before reclaiming the vehicle.

In Montgomery County, employers of cleaning staffers in buildings of larger than 350,000 square feet (generally the building’s owner) are required to provide at least 30 hours of work per week to those who provide janitorial services. You can review the text of the law at this link.

Virginia employers are now prohibited from classifying workers as independent contractors, unless they can explicitly demonstrate that said employee is indeed a true contractor. Employers must adhere to the latest IRS guidelines on contracting status, and can be fined or barred from receiving public contracts if they are found to be in violation.

Holding a cellphone while driving is now a primary offense in Virginia, similar to the status in Maryland and D.C. Undocumented Virginia residents are also now eligible to receive a driver’s license (though it will not be REALID-compliant), assuming they meet certain residency and driver competency requirements.

In the District of Columbia, several tax changes have now taken effect. Among the changes of note is that the estate tax exemption threshold has been lowered to $4 million, while a 5.3 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax surcharge has also been implemented.

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