Is New Hampshire Doing the Bare ‘Minimum’?
By Alexia Chesbrough
On January 1, 2020, every New England state raised their minimum wage, except for two. One of those states is New Hampshire, which does not have a minimum wage so it sets it at the federal rate. There are many workers who make part of their income off of tips, and they always wind up receiving about $12 per hour and people consider this unfair. This is why they just decided to go with the federal rate, which is a low $7.25. Every other state in New England has a minimum wage of at least $10. These minimum wage workers have not seen an increase since 2009 and are pretty upset about this, especially because it is the fourth most expensive state to live in.
Last year, a bill was developed that would have made their minimum wage $10 this year and $12 in 2022. However, they vetoed it due to the fear of small businesses decreasing their hours and that automation would increase in jobs. Republican Jack Flanagan observed that at Panera “there used to be six or seven people working at the counter. Now there are two workers and a bank of screens to help customers order without talking to someone”.
Residents in New Hampshire refused to give up on the fight for higher wages. Many have protested at the state house to try and get this increase. When the new 2020 bill was brought to the table, some workers lost hope. However, others told them not to give up because with all the states around NH increasing their minimum wage, it was likely that they would finally take action.
After the numerous attempts to increase this dreadful minimum wage, on January 9, 2020, there was finally success. A bill was passed, and over the next few years they will increase it until it reaches $15, starting with $8.50 now, $10.60 next Jan. 1, $13.90 by Jan. 1, 2024, and $15 in 2025.
The fight for $15 is now over, and there is hope for the people who work two minimum wage jobs and 60 hours a week, will get to decrease that amount and spend more time with their families. The fine line that is being drawn in New Hampshire between the poor and rich will hopefully make its way out of the picture.