In addition to celebrating the New Year, Massachusettsan workers can now enjoy a boost in their paychecks. As of January 1st, 2017, Massachusetts minimum wage has been raised from $10 per hour to $11 an hour.
The wage increase was the third and final increase coming off of the back of a bill signed by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick back in 2014. The bill gradually raised the minimum wage from $8 per hour to $11. The bill also raised the minimum wage for tipped workers from $2.63 an hour to $3.75 per hour.
The average cost of living is at a record high in the United States. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s “Out of Reach 2016” study concludes that “In no state can a person working full-time at the federal minimum wage afford a one-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent.”
Although workers are happy to see the minimum wage go up by $1, many feel as if the raise is not enough. Massachusetts activists and union workers are now pushing for a gradual $15 an hour minimum wage to break out of this national trend and keep up with the State’s cost of living. If this happens, Massachusetts will join New York, which is scheduled to have a $15 an hour minimum wage in place at the end of 2018.
Even if the latest Massachusetts raise does not seem sufficient to some, this increase sees the state now tying with Washington for the second highest minimum wage in the country, as of 2017.
So what do minimum wage increases mean for restaurant owners, operators and management?
Although raises mean additional spending on labor, increased wages will indeed bring benefits to your company. As discussed in a previous blog; Employee Meals: What System Works Best for You? spending extra time and or money on your employees is not only generous, but fosters good will between both parties. If your employees are feeling that they are being compensated appropriately for their work, they will not only feel more appreciated, they will in return be more motivated to work. This will create a trickle effect in your restaurant that will ultimately produce higher moral, employee-management relationships, team work, employee satisfaction and even customer loyalty. With that in mind, doesn’t extra labor costs from minimum wage increases seem like a great way to gain some company ROI (Return on Investment)?
For more information, see Massachusetts Wage and Labor Laws.
For a run-down on top minimum wages, see top 10 State with the Highest Minimum wage.