Massachusetts Increases Minimum Wage Law

 In Employment Law, Wage Law

In June 2018, Massachusetts’ Governor Baker signed into law an act that will increase Massachusetts minimum wage over the next five years. The act, H4640, has been referred to by some as the “Grand Bargain” because the law was passed to keep a proposed state sales-tax off of the state’s November ballot. Massachusetts is now the third state in addition to California and New York that has passed laws raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. For workers in Massachusetts as well as workers throughout the rest of the country, this act represents a movement to increase the amount of minimum wage that workers receive. Currently, though, it remains uncertain what effect, if any, the Massachusetts minimum wage increase will have on other states.

Governor Baker’s Commentary

While signing the act into law, Governor Baker commented that Massachusetts is continuing to grow and more people are continuing to find employment in the state. The Governor also commented that increasing the Massachusetts minimum wage is dedicated to keeping the state competitive in today’s economic environment.

How Wages Will be Increased

The new Massachusetts minimum wage law will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next five years. An initial increase in wages will occur in January 2019 when wages are increased to $12 an hour. The increases will then occur in 75 cent increments each year. In 2020, the wage will be increased to $12.75. In 2012, the wage will be raised to $13.50. In 2014, the wage will be increased to $14.25, and then in 2023, the wage will be raised to $15.

In addition to this increase in wages, the minimum base wage for tipped workers will be increased to $6.75. Wages in the state will also be changed regarding Sunday and holiday pay to match other states throughout the country. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy reports that an estimated 840,000 workers will benefit from this wage increase. Today, the state’s minimum wage is $11, and its tipped minimum wage base is $3.75.

The bill in question will also allow workers to take 12 weeks of paid leave to care for sick family members. Additionally, workers will now be able to take off 20 weeks of paid leave for medical needs.

Criticism of the Act

Not everyone responded positively to this change in the minimum wage. The group, Raise Up Massachusetts, contains 250 labor groups and organizations which helped fight for this change. Although the group’s efforts were successful,  the group criticized the decision to only slightly raised the tipped base amount by commenting that tipped workers should have received more. As a result, the group expressed concerns about the size of the increase, which they argue will not go as far as the proposed ballot changes.

Contact an Experienced Employment Law Attorney

If you are a worker who believes that your employer has violated the wage laws in your area, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced employment law attorney. At Herrmann Law, we have helped a large number of employers receive the compensation that they deserve. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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