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New England's Minimum Wage Gap Narrows Among Most States In 2018

For the most part, the minimum wage gap among New England states will narrow in 2018.

The state in the region with the highest minimum wage, Massachusetts, is holding its rate steady, at $11 an hour.

Vermont's lowest paid workers will see a bump to $10.50.

Rhode Island moves up to equal Connecticut, with a minimum wage of $10.10.

Because of a 2016 ballot question, Maine workers see the biggest jump in the new year, up from $9 to $10 an hour.

That means almost all New England states have their rates set within a dollar of each other.

The outlier is New Hampshire, which continues to follow the federal minimum wage of $7.25, after lawmakers again rejected a proposed increase.

Massachusetts Will Lose Top Spot

With increases already planned by state laws, Massachusetts will fall behind Maine in 2020, and eventually Vermont, whose minimum wage is set to automatically rise with inflation starting in 2019.

With no movement on an increase in the Massachusetts legislature, labor activists are fighting for the state to stay atop the region. They want to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot this November. If passed, it'll gradually raise wages to $15 an hour.

Sam Hudzik has overseen local news coverage on New England Public Media since 2013. He manages a team of about a dozen full- and part-time reporters and hosts.
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