Contact Name: Sara Persechino
Phone: (603) 271-3479
CONCORD - Today, the Senate Commerce Committee passed Amendment #1342s to HB 731, to reestablish and raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage. The amendment, sponsored by Senate President Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), mirrors the language of SB 410 which passed through the Senate in January.
After the committee vote, Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) issued the following statement:
“New Hampshire Senate Democrats have been fighting to raise the minimum wage for nearly a decade. We know that a baseline of $7.25 an hour is not a competitive rate and is driving away the educated and skilled workers that our state so desperately needs. Year after year New Hampshire’s minimum wage has fallen behind our neighboring states. Right now, New Hampshire is the only state in New England that does not set our own minimum wage and instead relies on the federal minimum. This does not work and has not worked for years.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, thousands of Granite Staters were left without a job and without an income. The only relief came in the form of the federal unemployment benefit giving individuals an extra $600 a week on top of their state’s unemployment benefits. For our lowest paid workers, particularly in our health care sector, this relief kept them in their homes and kept food on the table. Despite this relief, we have heard in public testimony that small businesses and our health care industry now view unemployment as a significant workforce competitor.
As the state continues to open, it is critical that we take a hard look at the cause of this competition. A person working full time hours at New Hampshire’s minimum wage is below the wage threshold and qualifies for public assistance -- that's just plain wrong. We need to raise the minimum wage and change the culture around our pay structures to ensure that when our workers return, they are closer to earning a living wage that will help provide resiliency in the future. It is far past time to reestablish and raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage.”