Massachusetts Legislative Update

Last week the Senate passed a measure (HB 4640) that would raise the Massachusetts Minimum Wage to $15.00 per hour incrementally over the next five years. The Bill would also phase out the time and a half pay that some retail establishments who currently must pay employees who work on Sundays and certain holidays and establishes a permanent tax holiday. Governor Baker and Massachusetts law makers were eager to move this initiative in an effort to block a ballot initiative. The Bill would also establish a paid family and medical leave program for workers. The paid leave program will be funded by a new .63% payroll tax with contributions from both employers and employees. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees will not have to contribute to the fund. The program would go into effect on January 1, 2021 and would provide for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, 20 weeks of medical leave, up to a total of 26 weeks in a year. Workers on leave would be paid a portion of their weekly wage with the average cost being $4.25 per employee per week. The Bill has been sent to Governor Baker’s office for consideration but will...

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Fasten Your Seatbelts for Paid Leave

A few days ago, something big happened in the State of New York that is going to have an enormous impact on employers.  The New York State Legislature finalized a budget that will increase the State Minimum Wage to $15.00 per hour, and will provide for paid Family and Medical Leave to all employees over the next few years.  While there are a few states in the country that currently provide for some form of paid leave, this is by far the most aggressive plan to phase in twelve weeks of paid leave to all employees by 2021.  This continues a trend that is sweeping the country to provide more paid leave to all employees. Today, employers with 50 or more employees are already required to provide up to twelve weeks of job protected unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  However, not all employees are eligible for that leave as they must have worked at least 1250 hours in the preceding twelve month period.  Under this new New York paid leave, both full and part time employees will be eligible for paid leave. Employers currently struggle with administering FMLA and other forms of job protected leave...

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