What you need to know:

Governor Deval Patrick recently signed a law that will raise the Massachusetts minimum wage from its current $8 per hour to $11 per hour over the next three years.  The first increase, to $9 per hour, will occur on January 1, 2015.

What you need to do:

Employers should be aware of the effective dates for the minimum wage raises and ensure their compensation is in compliance with the new law.

The Rule  

On June 26, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into a law a measure that will raise the minimum wage rate for Massachusetts employees to $11 per hour by 2017, making it the highest minimum wage rate currently contemplated by any state in the country.  The increases are expected to affect approximately 500,000 workers across the state.

The current minimum wage in Massachusetts is $8 per hour.  The first increase, raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour, will take effect on January 1, 2015.  The minimum wage rate will then rise to $10 on January 1, 2016 and to $11 on January 1, 2017.  There are no provisions in place to tie subsequent minimum wage increases to inflation, which Governor Patrick had sought and other states have implemented.

While many employees are already compensated in excess of the levels set by these increases, employers in Massachusetts should review their compensation programs to ensure that by the beginning of 2015, they are complying with the applicable wage rates for all employees.