Wage and Hour Law Changes for 2023

Minimum Wage Increase and the End of Retail Premium Pay

 

On January 1, 2023, the last of five annual increases to the Massachusetts minimum wage will take effect, as well as the final repeal of the retail premium pay requirement.  Members are reminded to take note of the following changes:

  • Minimum wage increase to $15.00 per hour (currently $14.25)
  • Tipped wage increase to $6.75 per hour (currently $6.15)
  • Retail Premium Pay mandate is fully eliminated. 
With the retail premium pay requirement for work performed on Sundays and certain holidays being eliminated from the Massachusetts General Laws (Chapter 136 §6),  retail employees may be compensated at their regular rate of pay for work performed on Sundays and the holidays of New Year’s Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, and Labor Day.  

Members are reminded that the Blue Law voluntary work requirement remains in effect.  All work performed on Sundays, and the aforementioned holidays, by employees of retail establishments must remain voluntary and refusal to work shall not be grounds for discrimination, dismissal, discharge reduction in hours, or any other penalty.

This marks the end of the five year, incremental phase out of this longstanding discriminatory law imposed solely on the retail sector, and only in MA and RI.  This costly labor mandate rendered Massachusetts a national outlier and in turn resulted in Massachusetts retailers being placed at an unfair competitive disadvantage compared to out-of-state and online sellers not subject to the law. 

Elimination of the requirement was the result of years of advocacy by RAM to secure a level a playing field for Massachusetts retailers.  The repeal was ultimately secured as part of a negotiated legislative package designed to avoid three proposed initiative petition proposals from going to the ballot—two proposed by special interests to increase the minimum wage and establish a paid family and medical leave program, and the third proposed by RAM to reduce the state sales tax.  The presence of the RAM proposal forced both the special interest groups and legislators to the table to negotiate a more balanced outcome on these issues for the Commonwealth.  

Members are encouraged to download RAM’s 2023 Retail Holiday Schedule for a detailed guide to these changes.
 
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