Minimum wage increase signed into law


STATE HOUSE – With the governor’s signature today, legislation sponsored by Sen. Erin Lynch Prata and Rep. David A. Bennett to raise the state’s minimum wage by $1 to $11.50 an hour on Oct. 1 has become law.

“Putting more money in the pockets of those with the lowest wages helps their families and the economy overall, because people at that end of the wage spectrum pump that money right back into the local economy, buying necessities. It also means less demand for public assistance. A stronger minimum wage will mean a stronger economy for Rhode Island,” said Representative Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston). “I believe very strongly that all working people deserve to be able to afford a decent life. Minimum wage hasn’t kept pace with inflation since it began, and Rhode Island’s remains behind neighboring states’. Each time we raise it, it means a bit of relief and a bit more dignity for those workers who struggle the most to afford life in Rhode Island.”

Rhode Island’s minimum wage has been $10.50 since Jan. 1, 2019. The minimum wage is $12.75 in Massachusetts and $11 in Connecticut.

“As the costs of daily life continue to increase, we must not forget those who are on the bottom of the economic ladder.  There is still much more work to be done to address this issue, but this minimum wage increase is a good first step to ensuring that Rhode Islanders have a roof over their heads and food on the table for themselves and their families,” said Senator Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston).

Senator Lynch Prata, who is chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Representative Bennett, who is chairman of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, have been the primary sponsors of every law enacted to raise Rhode Island’s minimum wage since 2012, when minimum wage was $7.40.

“Nobody should work full-time and live in poverty,” said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. “Over the past few years, we’ve turned our economy around by investing in our workers. From new job training programs to investments in education, we’re working to ensure that every Rhode Islander has a good, family-supporting job. I’m proud that we’ve increased the minimum wage four times since I took office, and I look forward to working with the General Assembly to continue building on that progress.”

Governor Raimondo signed the legislation (2020-S 2147A, 2020-H 7157A), which was approved General Assembly March 4, at a ceremony held at the headquarters of the RI AFL-CIO.

“The working people of Rhode Island are grateful for the leadership of Governor Raimondo, Senate President Ruggerio, and House Speaker Mattiello on the early passage of the minimum wage bill this year,” said RI AFL-CIO President George Nee. “It sends a strong signal that hard work is honored and appreciated in Rhode Island.”




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