June 19th marked the culmination of the State Houses Labor and Workforce Development Committees efforts to increase the minimum wage to $11.oo per hour, over a three year period, while establishing protection, compensation and legislation to benefit a diverse range of workers state wide. Representative Wayne A. Matewsky – Democrat, Everett, member of the Labor and Workforce Development Committee, confirmed passage of the legislation. Matewsky, acknowledged the continuous efforts of House Speaker Robert DeLeo – Democrat, Winthrop, and House Majority Leader Paul Donato – Democrat, Medford, and the House of Representatives Labor and Workforce Development Committee for their continuous efforts in moving the bills to legislation over the past year.
The increases of the minimum wage bill will proceed accordingly over a three year period:
$9.00 per hour effective January 1st 2015
$10.00 per hour effective January 1st 2016
$11.00 per hour effective January 1st 2017
Makes technical changes to insure that Massachusetts minimum wage remains at least 50 cents higher than the federal minimum wage.
Makes technical updates by increasing the minimum wage for farm workers to $8.00 per hour from its rate of $1.60 per hour.
Aligns minimum wage exemptions for seasonal camp counselors and counselor trainees with federal law.
Increase the minimum wage to $3.75 per hour for tipped employees. This will proceed accordingly over a three year period:
$3.00 per hour effective January 1st 2015
$3.35 per hour effective January 1st 2016
$3.75 per hour effective January 1st 2017
Unemployment Insurance: Does not restrict unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility or cut benefits.
Taxable Wage Base Increase: Increases the taxable wage base from $14,000 to $15,000, while creating a new rate table. The results represents savings between 3% and 29% for all employees in Massachusetts.
The Domestic Bill of Rights (S. 2132) will provide a basic set of rights and workplace standards to a group of workers whom have been excluded from state and federal law protections, and will improve the living standards for those workers such as nannies, caregivers and housekeepers. Domestic workers whom perform their job duties primarily behind closed doors, have been long subjected to exploitation, and wage theft. This bill of rights provides much needed clarity for workers and employers as to the rights of these workers on the job.
An Act Restoring the Minimum Wage and Providing Unemployment Insurance Reform (S. 2195) represents a positive step forward for Massachusetts workers, especially the half million families who will see their wages rise as a result of the Commonwealth adopting the highest minimum wage in the nation. This legislation will also provide important health and safety protection to state workers who are not covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).
Representative Matewsky is honored to serve on the State House Labor and Workforce Development Committee and to have had the opportunity to positively impact this landmark legislation. Matewsky, believes in working families and the rights of workers. “Worker’s Rights will continue as one of my highest priorities, for all families across the Commonwealth deserve the right to improve the quality of their lives”.
The adoption of this legislation into law remains awaiting the final approval of Governor Deval Patrick.