CommonWealth Magazine: New year will usher in 2018’s ‘grand bargain’

By Shira Schoenberg
CommonWealth Magazine, Dec 29, 2020

IT’S BEEN A TOUGH YEAR for low-wage workers, who were hit hard by the pandemic – losing jobs and income and facing housing and food insecurity.

But in Massachusetts, changes in state law that go into effect January 1 could bring at least slight relief. The minimum wage is set to rise next year, and the state’s paid family and medical leave program will go into effect as well. ... Both these changes are part of a law passed in 2018, the so-called “grand bargain” aimed at keeping multiple questions off that year’s ballot.

The law will gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023. This year’s increase will raise it from $12.75 to $13.50 an hour. The minimum wage for tipped workers – who are expected to supplement their income with tips – will rise from $4.95 to $5.55 an hour. ...

According to the business group Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, 20 states will raise the minimum wage at the turn of the year. Of those, the only ones that will have higher minimum wages than Massachusetts next year will be California ($14/hour), parts of New York ($14 or $15, depending on the region) and the state of Washington ($13.69). ...

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