BOSTON– The Senate on Tuesday, November 19th passed a bill that will restore the value of the minimum wage in Massachusetts by increasing the minimum wage to $11 by 2016 and tying future increases to the Consumer Price Index for the Northeast region. The bill also increases wages for tipped workers to 50 percent of the minimum wage.
Adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage in 1968 would be worth $10.72 today. A full-time minimum wage worker in 1968 earned $21,400 in today’s dollars, about $5,400 dollars more than a full-time minimum wage worker today.
The poverty rate in Massachusetts has increased by 20 percent since 2006 and the child poverty rate has increased by 25 percent. Poverty is linked with negative health outcomes and lower academic achievement. In addition, the school dropout rate for low-income families is 4.5 times higher than for others.
“I am proud to support this much needed increase to the minimum wage law in the Commonwealth,” stated Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury). “We are facing an income gap that only continues to widen. That needs to change. This bill will go a long way in ensuring workers will be fairly rewarded for their work and able to support their families.”
The legislatures in four other states, California, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island, enacted bills to increase the minimum wage starting in 2014. In addition, New Jersey voters approved a Constitutional amendment this month to raise the minimum wage in 2014 and tie increases to cost of living.
Under this bill, Massachusetts will join ten other states that currently index the minimum wage to inflation.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.