November 19, 2013
Boston— Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) voted against legislation that will increase the state’s minimum wage from $8 per hour to $11 per hour by 2016, beginning on July 1, 2014. The bill will index all future increases to inflation. The minimum wage for tipped employees was also increased from $2.63 per hour to half the minimum wage. This increase will give Massachusetts the highest minimum wage in the nation. The bill passed in the Senate and will now go before the House of Representatives.
“This substantial increase to the minimum wage will have drastic and significant effects on the Commonwealth,” said Senator Ross. “While I am in support of a more reasonable increase to the minimum wage, I cannot ignore the serious financial burdens this increase places on Massachusetts small businesses.”
During the debate, Senator Ross voted for an amendment filed by Senator Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) to increase the minimum wage from $8 to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014. The amendment would also eliminate the relationship between future increases and inflation. Unfortunately, the amendment was rejected by the Senate.
Senator Ross spoke in support of several amendments he filed to the bill. In the interest of offsetting the rising costs to businesses, Senator Ross sought to eliminate Sunday premium pay or provide an exemption for small businesses with fifty employees or fewer. Senator Ross also offered amendments allowing businesses to pay a lower rate to seasonal teenage employees and teenage employees during their initial period of employment. That rate could be no more than 20% less than the minimum wage and must be higher than $8 per hour. Senator Ross was disappointed that his amendments were not included in the final version of the bill.
Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.