The “Grand Bargain” in Massachusetts

With seemingly high voter support for an increased minimum wage, paid family leave, and a state sales tax decrease, Governor Charlie Baker signed a “grand bargain” bill, likely pre-empting ballot questions on these issues in November.  The law establishes paid family leave in 2021, increases the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2023, and set up a permanent sales tax “holiday” weekend in August.  Here’s a quick summary of the paid family leave and minimum wage provisions.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

All Massachusetts employers will have to comply with new family and medical leave requirements beginning on July 1, 2019.  However, employers with fewer than 25 employees in Massachusetts will not be required to pay the employer share of the cost.

Starting on July 1, 2019, employers must do the following:

  • Comply with new workplace poster requirement and new hire notice
  • Begin sending in contributions for the program

Paid family leave will begin in 2021 for any of the following reasons:

  • To bond with a new child during the first 12 months
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • A family member is or is called to active duty in the armed forces
  • To care for a family member who is a covered service member with a serious illness or injury incurred in the line of duty

Some other details:

  • The maximum duration of the leave is 12-26 weeks, depending on the circumstances.
  • Employees must give 30 days’ notice before taking a leave or as soon as possible if 30 days is not an option
  • Payments start after 7 days
  • The amount is 80% of salary up to 50% of the average weekly wage base plus 50% of their salary exceeding 50% of the average weekly wage base up to a maximum of $850/week
  • The law will run concurrent with FMLA, not in addition to FMLA.
  • Job protection is included

Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage in Massachusetts is $11/hour and $3.75 for tipped employees.  These minimums will begin to increase annually on January 1, 2019 and end at $15/hour and $6.75/hour for tipped employees on January 1, 2023.  Here is the schedule for non-tipped employees:

  • January 1, 2019:  $12/hour
  • January 1, 2020:  $12.75/hour
  • January 1, 2021:  $13.50/hour
  • January 1, 2022:  $14.25/hour
  • January 1, 2023:  $15/hour

If you have questions on this law or other topics that relate to HR or employee benefits, we’d love to talk to you.  Call us at (866) 724-0008 or click the link below.



Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.