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Milford State Rep. Backs Bill to Raise Minimum Wage, Enact UI Reforms

The effort is meant to make both systems more sustainable and predictable.

State Rep. John Fernandes (D-Milford). Credit: File photo.
State Rep. John Fernandes (D-Milford). Credit: File photo.

Massachusetts State Rep. John Fernandes (D-Milford) last week worked with the House of Representatives to pass a bill to reform the state's unemployment insurance system and raise the minimum wage.

The bill proposes a new minimum wage of $10.50 per hour and a new tipped wage of $3.75 per hour over the next three years, according to an announcement by Fernandes's office.

Neither wage is expected to be indexed to economic factors in the interest of providing employers with stability and accountability, according to the announcement.

The bill passed the House 125-24, and extends the state Maternity Leave Act to domestic workers and expands wage and hour law protections, as well as guaranteeing UI coverage.

The minimum was increase will be implemented according to the following timeline:

  • $9 per hour, effective July 1, 2014
  • $10 per hour, effective July 1, 2015
  • $10.50 per hour, effective July 1, 2016

The tipped minimum wage increase will be implemented in accordance with the following timeline:

  • $3 per hour, effective July 1, 2014
  • $3.35 per hour, effective July 1, 2015
  • $3.75 per hour, effective July 1, 2016

"It was important to me that we balanced this minimum wage increase initiative with an unemployment insurance package that gives tax relief to, and certainty in unemployment rates for businesses while preserving worker benefits," Fernandes said. "I am proud to join my colleagues in the House in voting for a comprehensive workforce reform package that gradually raises the minimum wage, which has not been increased in many years and has not kept up with many cost of living factors."

Meanwhile, reforms to unemployment insurance are meant to increase predictability for employers and close current loopholes. The bill comprises a rate freeze for 2014 and a three-year rate freeze to reflect the new wage base and rate table. The changes include:

  • Adjusting the ratings table to lower the tax burden on most employers
  • Increasing system accountability for public employees, including municipal and seasonal employees and retirees, which includes closing loopholes that enable school-based municipal employees, as well as retirees, to receive both pensions and UI benefits.
"We in the House continue to recognize the paramount importance of aiding businesses still recovering from the recent economic downturn, by freezing unemployment rates once again in 2014, and enacting a new wage base and ratings table that will lower the taxation border on businesses going forward," Fernandes said in a statement. 
Mark Cain April 07, 2014 at 11:18 AM
Never in my life have i seen such a group of dumb people as liberals. They just have no clue when it comes to business. They didn't listen when they were told about the health care debacle and they will not listen to the fact that this will kill jobs and raise prices! absolutely ignorant.
noahbabymom April 07, 2014 at 06:04 PM
You're right...we don't speak enough. This country exists for the people, not for the bank accounts of a few people. I wish State Rep. Fernandes backed the senate bill instead. And yes, Rep. Fernandes, I called your office and I vote.
Gun Rights April 08, 2014 at 05:40 PM
I've noticed a huge surge in articles featuring Fernandes ever since a challenger arose. Funny how that works.

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