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Raising the Minimum Wage in Massachusetts

Minimum Wage will be $9.00 an hour starting January 1, 2015

Massachusetts enacted the first state minimum wage law over 100 years ago on June 4, 1912.  Thanks to the efforts of many committed individuals, businesses, and elected leaders at every level including the Governor, we have reason to celebrate again the Commonwealth’s lead when it comes to fair treatment of workers.  Massachusetts now has the highest enacted state minimum wage set for $11.00 on January 1, 2017.

At Massachusetts’ current minimum wage rate of $8.00, this translates to just $16,640 annually for a full-time worker.  For those who think only part-time workers are paid minimum wage, think again.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 53 percent of all minimum wage earners are full-time workers, and minimum wage workers contributed almost half (46 percent) of their household’s wage and salary income in 2011.(www.dol.gov/minwage/mythbuster.htm).

Raising the minimum wage in Massachusetts will have a real impact for workers, families, and our economy.

In addition to the increase in the state’s regular minimum wage to $9.00 effective January 1, 2015; $10.00 effective January 1, 2016; and $11.00 effective January 1, 2017, the service rate is also increasing, from the current $2.63 per hour, to $3.00 per hour, on January 1, 2015.  Just like the regular minimum wage, there are two more annual increases after 2015 to the service rate: $3.35 per hour on January 1, 2016, and $3.75 per hour on January 1, 2017.  Wait staff, service employees and service bartenders may be paid the service rate if they regularly receive tips of more than $20 a month, and if their average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, are equal to or exceed the regular minimum wage.

The law also increases the minimum wage for agricultural employees in Massachusetts to $8.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2015.  For the first time in decades, the state’s minimum wage for agricultural workers will be higher than the federal government’s agricultural wage.

Failure to pay the minimum wage may subject employers to civil or criminal sanctions under M.G.L. c. 149, sec. 27C, enforced by the Attorney General, or to civil action under M.G.L. 149, sec. 150.

The Department of Labor Standards has information regarding the Massachusetts Minimum Wage law and regulation.  Visit www.mass.gov/mwage

 

Written By:


Director of the Department of Labor Standards

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