More than 650,000 workers in Massachusetts to benefit from minimum wage hike

BOSTON (WHDH) - The lowest-paid workers in Massachusetts have something to look forward to in 2019: a higher minimum wage.

Come Jan. 1, more than 650,000 workers across the Bay State will make at least $12 per hour. Wages will jump to $15 per hour by 2023.

While some employers hope the wage hike will help them retain workers, others fear it will be detrimental to business.

Jackson Renshaw, the owner of Dorchester’s Fresh Food Generation, says his company has benefitted from starting employees out at $12 per hour.

“For us, it’s really about investing in the people who are doing the work, and making sure they can take care of themselves and their families,” he said.

Companies such as Amazon and Santander have already raised their minimum hourly rate to $15. Target says it plans to do the same by 2020.

Christopher Carlozzi, Massachusetts State Director of NFIB, says some small businesses fear the wage increase will cause a financial collapse.

“It’s not just a minimum wage increase. It’s going to be paid family medical leave. They’re facing a MassHealth assessment. They’re facing higher energy and higher healthcare costs,” he said. “It’s very hard to find something good in this for them.”

Renshaw strongly believes the increased wage will result in less employee turnover, reduced hiring/training costs, and increased productivity.

“Our turnover rate is really low for a food business,” he said. “Half of our staff has been with us for at least two years. A lot of that has to do with how we treat them as people but also being able to back them up with a fair hourly rate.”

Some small businesses plan to increase prices in order to make up for the wage hike.

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