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Maryland Ensures Low-Wage Workers Get Paid What They Earn

Last month, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed historic legislation providing Maryland workers a critical new legal tool—a wage lien—to recover their wages when they have not been paid what they earned. Maryland joins a handful of states to provide workers this key provision.


The Public Justice Center and key allies drove the campaign to draft and win passage of this historic bill—a victory that will serve as a model for states across the country. Early technical and strategy support from the Center for Popular Democracy helped ensure the bill’s passage this year.

The victory is critical for the hundreds of thousands of low-income workers in Maryland who do not receive minimum wage or overtime and lose about 15% of their annual earnings to wage theft by unscrupulous employers. The new wage lien provides workers the option of “freezing” the employer’s assets before filing a court action—a step that dramatically increases the likelihood the worker will actually recover what she or he is owed. Congratulations to the PJC and thank you to all the partner organization that helped make this victory happen.