Mass. Speaker Calls For Hike In Minimum Wage

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is proposing a new minimum wage of $10.50 per hour in Massachusetts, to be phased in over three years.

The Winthrop Democrat outlined the plan in a speech Thursday to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. He also called for a series of changes in the state's unemployment insurance system.

"Reforming our UI system, increasing the minimum wage, keeping our most talented tech workers in Massachusetts, training tech workers in our community colleges, and harnessing the power of our universities to meet our state’s technology and employment needs are all key components of our prosperity agenda," DeLeo said in his remarks.

DeLeo told business leaders the House would vote on a bill to raise the current minimum wage of $8 per hour to $9 on July 1, to $10 a year later and $10.50 in 2016.

The proposal would also increase the minimum tipped wage, to $3.75 in 2016.

The bill differs slightly from a Senate-passed bill that would raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour over the same three-year period.

The Senate bill would also link future minimum wage increases to inflation.

In contrast, DeLeo said "in the interest of providing employers with stability and accountability, [the House proposal] will not be indexed to any economic factors.”

The unemployment insurance changes include changing from a one-year to a three-year payroll average.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This article was originally published on March 13, 2014.


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