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By Zeninjor Enwemeka
WBUR (NPR), Boston, Dec 27, 2023. Also in El Planeta.

In 2023, Massachusetts ushered in the final increase in a "grand bargain" to lift the minimum hourly wage to $15 — one of the highest in the country. The wage floor will remain the same in 2024, but now there's a push to raise it again to $20.

Advocates say the current minimum wage — which took years to achieve — is already outdated and isn't enough for residents to live on. ... Two bills are pending at the State House that would raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2027. ...

Advocates for raising the minimum wage [say] it will boost the economy.

"Employees at one business are customers at many other businesses," said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. "And so minimum wage increases go right back into local businesses and the economy."

John Schall, owner of the El Jefe's Taqueria chain, said increasing wages over the last few years helped him retain staff, which led to more productivity and higher sales across his various locations. He now pays his staff roughly $16.50 an hour [entry wages before tips] on average.

"Having a strong, stable staff and paying benefits and living wages that allow for that is absolutely crucial," said Schall, who testified at a September legislative committee hearing in support of legislation to raise the minimum wage to $20. "Right now $15 is no longer sufficient for a living wage in Massachusetts, and lots of other places as well." ...

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