The Massachusetts minimum wage increases again in the new year. here’s why
Massachusetts’ minimum wage will drop to $ 14.25 an hour on January 1. This is the last adjustment to the state’s minimum wage before it hits $ 15 an hour in 2023.
Massachusetts was one of the first states in the country to legislate towards a minimum wage of $ 15, but it was not passed immediately. In a so-called legislative “big deal” in 2018, Gov. Charlie Baker and state lawmakers agreed to gradually increase the minimum wage over five years.
The minimum wage is currently $ 13.50. The new minimum for tipped workers will drop from $ 5.55 to $ 6.15 an hour.
Defenders welcome the planned increase. “This means that hundreds of thousands of workers will see an increase – and so this is cause for celebration,” said Phineas Baxandall, senior policy analyst at Mass. Budget and Policy Center, from left.
Baxandall says the increase in wages will bring some relief with the rise in the prices of basic commodities like food and gas due to high inflation.
“This increase in the minimum wage is around 5.5%,” he said. “It helps incomes keep pace with prices, and it’s something worth celebrating, but a minimum wage is still not enough to get by.”
The new salary translates to $ 29,640 per year for someone working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year.
A recent analysis by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that taking into account vital expenses – such as shelter, transportation, and other essentials – a single employee in Massachusetts with no dependents would be expected to earn about $ 36,900 per year to pay the bills. In other words, MIT’s “living wage” calculator found that the same person should be paid a minimum wage of around $ 17.74.
Some business groups fear that raising the minimum wage will hurt small businesses operating with already low margins.
“This will only result in employers having to pay more to retain existing workers,” said Christopher Carlozzi, Massachusetts director for the National Federation of Independent Business.
“Besides the overcrowding of inexperienced and younger candidates in the job market, the higher minimum wage could mean even higher prices for consumers already trying to absorb the rising costs,” he said.
Carlozzi also noted that a recent survey of more than 600 members of his group found that over 40% had already raised wages to try to attract workers.
Four other New England states will also raise their wage floors in the new year. Connecticut and Rhode Island will see incremental increases; they are expected to hit $ 15 an hour in 2023 and 2025, respectively.
Maine and Vermont link their minimum wages to consumer price index; Maine will increase its minimum wage to $ 12.25 an hour and Vermont will raise it to $ 12.55.
New Hampshire is the only state in New England that still maintains the federal minimum wage of $ 7.25 an hour.
With additional reporting from the New England News Collaborative