A new year brings a new minimum wage

Massachusetts minimum wage workers got a pay raise as of New Year's Day

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The state minimum wage is now $11 an hour, which is a dollar increase from 2016.

“If you work a 40 hour week that’s 40 more dollars in your pocket. That’s gas money, that’s milk, eggs, bread, basics you can get with that,” said Orlando Hernandez of Springfield.

It’s a change that’s been in the works for a while. Back in 2014 over 100 community organizations and labor unions worked with the legislature to pass a law that would increase the minimum wage in Massachusetts. The 2017 increase is the last of three $1 annual increases approved in 2014, when the minimum wage was 8 dollars an hour.

Adam Copeland of Springfield told 22News, “Families want to work hard, they want to earn money for their families and I think this is going to help that.”

“A lot of things have gone up, daycare, gas, so this is something that is really needed,” said Windie Morales of Springfield.

But employers have expressed concerns that this will raise prices. Nadim Kashouh, Owner of Nadim’s Downtown, told 22News this will increase his payroll by $500 a week, and that extra expense will likely be passed on to you.

“As is we work on a very small margin of profit so eventually in turn it is going to go back to the customer, I have to pay for it somehow, I haven’t figured that one out, but most likely it’ll be the prices on the menu,” Kashouh said.

Massachusetts is one of 20 states that are increasing the minimum wage, and there is already a movement to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This increase in pay will affect nearly 500,000 low wage workers here in Massachusetts.