Joyce Backs Minimum Wage Hike and Unemployment Reform for Businesses

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Senate passed legislation increasing the minimum wage for Massachusetts to $11 and making changes to Massachusetts’ unemployment system which will stabilize or drop unemployment insurance rates for businesses with consistent workforces, freeze those rates for four years, and maintain protections for unemployed workers.

“Studies have shown that raising the minimum wage lowers the demand for government assistance programs funded by taxpayers and will ease the burden on already strained resources for struggling working families,” said Joyce.

The wage would rise from its current $8/hour to $11/hour over the next three years with hikes occurring every July. Minimum wage workers comprise 2.8 percent of the population according to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

The legislation also changes the experience rating tables for employers and will shift the burden of supporting unemployed workers to businesses with high turnover and lessen the impact on businesses providing a stable workforce. It will also freeze rates through 2017, providing businesses with stable accounting and averting a potential 33 percent hike.

“With these unemployment reforms, we will have a system that will not penalize employers who are hiring, training, and retaining employees and that will provide a stable rate system that will allow job providers to budget and grow more efficiently,” Joyce stated.