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PROVIDENCE – The General Assembly has approved legislation that will raise Rhode Island’s minimum wage to $8 per hour, beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
Rhode Island’s current minimum wage of $7.75 went into effect in January, as a result of legislation passed by the General Assembly last session. Until the increase was put into place this year, Rhode Island had gone the longest of the New England states without a minimum-wage increase, in the face of growing inflation over the previous five years. The last increase, prior to 2013, was in 2007.
“Minimum wage workers are vital to keep our economy running and many businesses functioning,” said Sen. Erin P. Lynch, D-Warwick, a bill sponsor. “Not only will the increase to $8 help those at the bottom of the pay scale make a little more as they struggle to make ends meet, the timing of the increase – at the beginning of the calendar year – will ensure that businesses have ample time between now and then to prepare to implement the new rate.”
The $8 minimum wage will make Rhode Island’s wage the third highest in New England, tied with Massachusetts at $8 and behind Vermont at $8.60 and Connecticut at $8.25. The minimum wage is $7.50 in Maine and $7.25 in New Hampshire. •