As of January 1, 2015, the minimum wage in Massachusetts will be increasing to $9.00/hr. The Commonwealth has instituted an aggressive minimum wage initiative to raise the minimum wage $1.00 each year to ultimately reach $11.00 an hour as of January 1st 2017.
The minimum wage rate applies to most employees in the Commonwealth. One large exception is wait staff, service employees and service bartenders, but minimum hourly wage for these groups of employees is increasing as well at the beginning of the year. Beginning on January 1, 2015, these groups of employees may be paid a service rate equaling $3.00 an hour if they regularly receive tips of more than $20 a month. However their average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, must equal to or exceed the basic minimum wage.
An interesting addition to the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Statute is that “in no case shall the Massachusetts minimum wage rate be less than $0.50 higher than the effective federal minimum rate.” Federal minimum wage law triumphs state law in the sense that states are prohibited from enforcing a minimum wage that is less than the mandated federal minimum wage rate. Whichever law provides the most protection will apply. States are free to increase the minimum wage in any manner in which they like.
If you are a minimum wage worker or employer of minimum wage employees changes are coming in the New Year that you should be prepared for. If you have any questions regarding the new wage laws you should contact an attorney at Rudolph Friedmann.