A half a million workers in Massachusetts will be affected directly by the proposed raise in the state's minimum wage law to $10.50 an hour.
This material is garnered from the House version of the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Bill. The House and Senate have passed separate versions of the minimum wage hike, and they’re reconciling those two versions now.
At the present the Bay State minimum wage is $8 an hour which is above the federal level of $7.25 an hour but below the rate of some other states. Connecticut just enacted the highest state minimum wage raising it to $10.10 an hour by 2017.
Both the Senate bill and a separate ballot question in the General Election in November would make future increases automatic by tying minimum wage increases to inflation. The House bill does not include this automatic increase option.
Women and youth are hardest hit
Nationally half of the workers earning the minimum wage were younger than 25 and 62 percent were women.
Last year the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said that 73 percent of workers earning the state minimum wage were 20 years or older, and 38 percent of employees earning less than $11 an hour worked full time.
In Massachusetts the affect of the higher minimum wage would benefit women (56 percent) more than men (44 percent).