"Grand Bargain" Minimum Wage Increase in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has enacted a "grand bargain" minimum wage law that will gradually increase the state's minimum wage from $11 per hour to $15 over the next five years. Simultaneously, it will phase out required time-and-a-half pay for Sundays and certain holidays. 

Under the new law:

  • The minimum wage will increase to $12 per hour in 2019.  From there, the wage will increase to $12.75 in 2020, $13.50 in 2021, $14.25 in 2022, and finally $15 in 2023.  The minimum wage for employees who receive tips is also scheduled to increase by 60 cents per year, from $3.75 in 2018 to $6.75 by January of 2023. 
  • Starting in January of 2019, eligible workers will be paid 140% of their standard wage for Sundays and legal holidays as recognized by Massachusetts, rather than time-and-a-half.  This percentage will decrease by 10% annually until January of 2023, when workers will be paid their regular working wage on Sundays and holidays. Massachusetts recognizes the following legal holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington's Birthday, Patriot's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Takeaways

Employers are advised to anticipate increases in operational costs as the minimum wage increases over the next five years.  Some of these new costs may be offset by other provisions of the  law, including the elimination of time-and-a-half pay and their gradual implementation.  Nevertheless, employers should still anticipate taking on increased operational costs and plan accordingly.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact David Gabor, head of The Wagner Law Group's Employment Law Department.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact David Gabor, head of The Wagner Law Group's employment law practice.