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Mass.: State Raises Minimum Wage to $11

By Joanne Deschenaux  6/27/2014
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Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law June 26, 2014, a measure raising the Massachusetts minimum wage to the highest of any U.S. state, $11 per hour, by 2017.

“By signing this bill, we show the nation that opportunity can and must be spread outward, not just upward,” Patrick said in a statement announcing the signing.

The measure passed the House June 18 on a 124-24 vote and the Senate June 12 on a 35-4 vote. It will gradually raise the minimum wage in the state to $11 per hour by 2017. The minimum wage, currently $8, will increase to $9 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2015, $10 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2016, and $11 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2017. Wages for tipped workers would increase from $2.63 per hour to $3.75 per hour by 2017The law does not include provisions to tie minimum wage increases after 2017 to inflation, which Patrick had sought.

President Barack Obama's effort to raise the U.S. minimum wage to $10.10 per hour failed to win support in either the Republican-controlled House of Representatives or the Democratic-controlled Senate, with opponents saying an increase would cost jobs.

In the absence of federal action, states have proceeded with their own legislation to raise entry-level wages. Vermont will raise its minimum to $10.50 per hour by 2018, with Connecticut, Hawaii and Maryland all moving toward a $10.10 minimum.

The District of Columbia adopted an $11.50 minimum, to take effect in 2016, and Seattle's city council voted to raise its minimum to $15 an hour over the next seven years.

Joanne Deschenaux, J.D., is SHRM’s senior legal editor. 

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