November 30, 2022

Volume XII, Number 334

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Massachusetts Enacts Minimum Wage Increases

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has signed new law mandating increases in the state’s minimum wage to $11.00 an hour by January 1, 2017. 

The first of three raises, to $9.00 an hour, occurs January 1, 2015. The new law also mandates increases in tipped workers’ minimum cash wage to $3.00 an hour on January 1, 2015, and rising to $3.75 an hour on January 1, 2017. With this increase, Massachusetts will have one of the highest minimum wages in the country. Paying the proper minimum wage is especially important in Massachusetts as state law allows for mandatory treble damages and attorneys’ fees for failing to pay wages.

The Bay State’s hourly minimum wage for non-tipped workers, which has been $8.00 an hour since 2008, will increase as follows:

  • Beginning January 1, 2015, to $9.00.

  • Beginning January 1, 2016, to $10.00.

  • Beginning January 1, 2017, to $11.00.

Future minimum wage increases would not be automatically tied to inflation, as an earlier version of the proposal would have done.

Recognizing businesses’ concerns about the state’s unemployment insurance (“UI”) system, the new law freezes UI rates for three years beginning January 1, 2015, and changes the rating system to permit employers who lay off fewer workers to pay less into the UI system. 

In addition, the law has expanded the state’s council on the underground economy to 17 members from business, labor and government. The council, which aims to reduce wage theft and minimum wage and UI violations, will oversee more investigations and initiate more enforcement actions. It also will “facilitate timely information sharing among state agencies in order to advise or refer matters of potential investigative interest” and identify and target industries and sectors where it determines “the underground economy and employee classification are most prevalent,” among other things.

The new law also creates an occupational health and safety advisory board to write health and safety regulations for public employees, who are not covered by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules. The new advisory board’s regulations will provide at least as much protection as the federal standards.

Several other states, including Delaware, Michigan and Minnesota, also have adopted increases this year. (See our articles, Delaware Minimum Wage Increases June 1, 2014Michigan Minimum Wage Increases Enacted, and Minnesota Passes Minimum Wage Increases.)

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2022National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 184
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About this Author

Brian E. Lewis, Jackson Lewis, disability management issues lawyer, restrictive covenants attorney
Principal

Brian E. Lewis is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He exclusively represents management in all facets of workplace law.

Mr. Lewis routinely advises clients regarding day-to-day employment issues, such as employee discipline and discharge, disability management issues, proper payment of wages, reductions in force, and restrictive covenants. Mr. Lewis also has experience in representing clients on traditional labor law issues, and has appeared before the National Labor Relations Board. He...

617-367-0025
Andrew Pickett, Employment Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Office Managing Principal

Andrew C. Pickett is the Office Managing Principal of the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice concentrates exclusively in employment litigation and counseling on behalf of management.

Mr. Pickett advises clients regularly on employment law issues, including allegations of unlawful discrimination, reductions in force, FMLA leave, the Americans with Disabilities Act, non-competition agreements, and litigation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. He has substantial trial experience, and appears frequently in state and...

617-367-0025
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