As a minimum wage hike at the federal level remains mired in the pit of political mud through which Congress forces virtually all legislation to pass, Massachusetts appears almost certain to increase the state’s rate in the near future. It won’t be the first state to take action on the issue, and Massachusetts employers will be wise to track the current debate at the State House and prepare in advance to make necessary adjustments.
Both the state Senate and House of Representatives have now passed minimum wage hikes. The Senate was the first to act. Late last year, it approved an increase from the current $8 per hours to $11 over three years. Future increases would come with inflation, and the Senate bill would also increase the minimum amount that must be paid to tipped employees from $2.63 to one-half the amount of the minimum wage. More recently, the House voted to increase the minimum wage to $10.50 over two years. Its bill increases the tipped employee hourly rate to $3.75. There’s no automatic future increase built into the House bill. [Read more...]