Fight for $15 and Paid Family Medical Leave Victories!

Fight for $15 and Paid Family Medical Leave Victories!

Last Thursday, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill that includes a strongly progressive Paid Family and Medical Leave program and increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour over 5 years!

This is an enormous victory for working people in Massachusetts, and it only happened because all of us worked hard to collect 350,000 signatures, lobby the legislature, and organized to win these changes.

The paid leave legislation passed by the Legislature is a historic victory for every single worker in Massachusetts who will now be able to take job-protected paid time off from work to take care of themselves or a family member after a medical emergency or the birth or adoption of a new child!

It’s a strongly progressive bill that will make Massachusetts the national leader in providing paid leave and supporting working families, with more job-protected leave than any other state provides (12 weeks of family leave and 20 weeks of medical leave); a progressive wage replacement system that especially helps low-wage workers; and the most progressive cost-sharing system of any state paid leave program, with costs split effectively 50-50 between employers and employees. Yesterday, our grassroots committee voted that we will not take our paid family and medical leave question to the ballot if the Governor signs this legislation.

The minimum wage legislation passed by the Legislature is a victory for the nearly one million Massachusetts workers who will see their wages go up as the minimum wage gradually increases to $15 an hour by 2023. We estimate that this bill will raise the wages of nearly 1 million Massachusetts workers, more than a quarter of the state’s workforce. We also campaigned strongly against proposals to create a teen sub-minimum wage, and we beat them back!

However, we are troubled by the size of the increase in the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, which doesn’t go as far as our proposed ballot question. We are seriously concerned that the minimum wage legislation passed by the Legislature would not cover all workers, including some public employees. Our coalition is also strongly opposed to the Legislature’s decision to eliminate Sunday time-and-a-half pay and cut wages for thousands of workers who are working on Sundays to pay their bills, which they did in order to avoid the Retailers Association’s ballot question that would have cut the sales tax and reduced state revenues by $1.25 billion.

Over the next several days, we will continue having conversations among our coalition and expect to reach a decision on whether to take our minimum wage question to the ballot early next week.

The legislation passed yesterday will make Massachusetts only the third state, after California and New York, to adopt both Paid Family and Medical Leave and a $15 minimum wage. Since Raise Up Massachusetts came together in 2013, we have won major, lasting improvements to the lives of millions of working families.

We will continue to do this work until every worker in Massachusetts has a livable wage, family-supporting benefits, and a transportation and education system that lifts people up. Our victories on paid leave and $15 are enormous, but we’re only getting started.

CONGRATULATIONS AND THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO COLLECTED SOME OF THE 350,000 SIGNATURES ON THE PETITIONS AND ORGANIZED PEOPLE TO PRESS LEGISLATORS TO PASS THIS. TOGETHER WE DID IT!!!

SOME 943,000 low wage earners will get a Minimum Wage increase!!!  The Fight for $15 has been won!!!

Many millions of people in our state will have the benefit and support for paid time off for serious illness to themselves or to family members who need their care from this Paid FamilyMedical Leave law we got passed!!!

Only two other states have both a path to $15 Minimum Wage and Paid Family Medical Leave.  And our PFML law is the strongest in the United States.

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