Grand Bargain Bill Signed Into Law

On Wednesday, June 20th the House passed the Grand Bargain bill, which the Governor signed into law on Thursday, June 28th. The Grand Bargain was a heavily anticipated piece of legislation that raises the minimum wage from $11 to $15 an hour, increases the wage for tipped workers to $6.75 over five years, implements paid medical and family leave, and institutes an annual sales tax holiday.

This agreement will eliminate the need for these issues to be included in the November 2018 ballot. Raise Up Massachusetts-- a coalition of labor, faith and community groups-- proposed questions on the ballot regarding the minimum wage and paid medical and family leave and worked with the business community and the legislature on compromise legislation.

Over the next five years, the minimum wage in Massachusetts will rise from $11/hr to $15/hr to better support and protect working people in the Commonwealth. The compromised legislation includes a phases out of time-and-a-half pay on Sundays and holidays over five years.

The most complicated aspect of the legislation is the paid family and medical leave. The new law guarantees that mostly all employees in the state can take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and 20 weeks of paid medical leave starting in 2021. The funding for this program will come from a new $800-million-per-year payroll tax on workers and employers.

I am proud of the legislature for making strides in providing workers with a living wage, for everyone is entitled to a sense of security and the flexibility to care for the health of their loved ones.

Preyel Patel