Minimum wage increase and paid leave proposed for 2018 ballot

One ballot question would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022

BOSTON (WWLP) – You could get to decide whether Massachusetts should increase the minimum wage and require paid family and medical leave if these issues make it onto the 2018 ballot.

Raise Up Massachusetts is pushing to ensure working people in Massachusetts can afford to pay the bills with the launch of two ballot initiative campaigns.

One would allow you to decide whether Massachusetts should gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022.

Minimum wage workers are currently paid $11 per hour.

“We think if people who work hard, work full time, should not be living in poverty and 21,000 per year is the poverty wage,” said Lew Finfer, co-chair of “Raise Up Massachusetts.”

Forty-seven percent of Springfield residents would see wage increases if the ballot question is approved by voters.

Lawmakers have also filed bills on these ballot campaign issues, including paid family and medical leave.

State Representative Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford) has been pushing for paid family and medical leave for more than a decade to help working families.

“You shouldn’t be put in the position that you have to give up your job in order to take care of that family member,” Cabral told 22News.

The ballot question would provide up to 16 weeks of job-protected paid leave to care for an ill or injured family member or new child, and up to 26 weeks for personal illness.

The campaign is still in the early stages of the process. If certified by the Attorney General, the questions will need more than 60,000 signatures before they can make it onto the 2018 ballot.