Salary for restaurant and service workers would drop to $ 15 below the mass bill

Some lawmakers want to completely eliminate the lower rate of $ 5.55 for service personnel after a legislative compromise in 2018 retained a separate minimum wage for tip workers in Massachusetts.

“We know that the wage below the minimum is certainly not enough. People just cannot live on it,” Pittsfield representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier told GBH News. His bill would bring the wages of tipped workers into line with those of other workers at $ 15 an hour by 2028, regardless of the additional income they receive from tips.

As part of Beacon Hill’s ‘big deal’ of 2018 that set minimum wage increases, created a paid family leave program, devoted annual sales tax holidays, and eliminated Sunday overtime for grocers, the floor The wage for tipped workers was expected to rise to $ 6.75 per hour by 2023.

The Farley-Bouvier bill will be heard by the labor committee on Tuesday. This would change that market and increase the minimum wage for tipped workers by $ 1.50 each year until the rate equals the state’s minimum wage for tipped workers, which would be $ 15 per year. hour or more.

Farley-Bouvier said a provision in the bill, allowing any tips to be shared not only with “front desk” service staff but also with kitchen staff, will help restaurants attract workers at some point. where the industry is desperate to fill jobs.

“By having a fair wage, they’re actually able to tip all over the house. And I think that’s a solution for employers in the service sector,” said Farley-Bouvier.

Under the 2018 law, the Massachusetts minimum wage will drop from $ 13.50 this year to $ 14.24 in 2022 before peaking at $ 15 an hour in 2023. If the Farley-Bouvier bill became law, the sloped minimum wage would gradually increase between 2022 and 2028 until it reaches $ 15 an hour – or more, if lawmakers raise the wage floor again in intervening years.

The bill was approved by committee last October before being quietly shelved by Democratic leaders until the legislative session expired.

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