By Bob Katzen

Effective January 1, the state’s minimum wage rose from $13.50 per hour to $14.25 per hour. This hike is the fourth of five annual increases mandated by a law passed in 2018 that will eventually bring the minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2023.

In addition, the minimum wage for tipped workers increased from $5.55 per hour to $6.15 per hour—provided that their tips bring them up to at least $14.25 per hour. If the total hourly rate for the employee including tips does not equal $14.25 at the end of a shift, the employer is required to make up the difference.

“Boosting our wage floor in a steady and predictable way lifts all workers and especially lower-wage workers who are most impacted by rising inflation and cost of living,” said Rep. Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury), House chair of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “A fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay and this increase takes us one step closer to that goal.”

“Consumers are dealing with the worst inflation spike in 40 years,” said Paul Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “Nearly every product is more expensive and Massachusetts is going to exacerbate the rise in costs by mandating that our state pay the highest price for minimum wage labor in New England. This increase will be passed down to the consumers and ultimately it will serve as another economic blow to the poor and middle class.”

“Inflation cannot be cured by increasing the price of labor and economic growth cannot be accelerated by mandates that add costs to struggling businesses,” continued Craney. “Very few Statehouse lawmakers started their own business, so these economic lessons are completely foreign to them. Speaker Ron Mariano and the Senate President Karen Spilka are so out of touch, they are even proposing a gimmicky ballot question next year that would allow lawmakers to increase the income tax by 80 percent on some taxpayers and pass-through businesses,”

“In the 1960s you could purchase a home on the minimum wage,” said Steve Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “The Massachusetts AFL-CIO will continue to work with community, faith and labor organizations in effort to stem the tide of income inequality.”

“The scheduled increase in the state minimum on January 1 will not be as noticed by employers small and large given the current labor shortage and inflationary pressures on those employers,” said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “Wages grew dramatically in 2021 throughout the economy as so many workers retired early and changed carriers due to the reactions to the COVID crisis. Therefore the costs of the increase have already been factored in for months due to marketplace pressures.”

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