Massachusetts boosts minimum wage and creates paid medical leave scheme Massachusetts boosts minimum wage and creates paid medical leave scheme

Massachusetts boosts minimum wage and creates paid medical leave scheme
10 Jul 2018

Massachusetts’ Governor has signed an Act into law that will boost the state’s minimum wage over the next five years, create a new paid family and medical leave programme and lead to an annual August sales tax holiday.

The Act – H4640 – has been referred to as the 'Grand Bargain' as it was designed to keep a series of questions off the November ballot, including a proposal to cut the state sales tax from the current 6.25% to 5%, The Associated Press reported.

Governor Charlie Baker said: "I am thankful that all parties came together, compromised and found common ground to produce a better set of policies than what the ballot questions represented. The Massachusetts workforce continues to grow with more and more people finding jobs, and our administration is committed to maintaining the Commonwealth’s competitive economic environment."

The legislation will create a permanent two-day weekend sales tax holiday. It will begin in August 2019, and the particular weekend will be determined by the legislature, according to Boston.com.

The Act will also gradually increase the Commonwealth’s minimum wage to US$15 per hour over the next five years, with an initial rise taking effect in January 2019. There will also be an increase in the minimum base wage rate for tipped workers up to US$6.75 that will likewise be phased in over five years starting from January 2019.

Wage policies for Sunday and holiday pay will be reformed too and brought into line with most other states across the country. In something of a compromise in favour of employers, the law gets rid of the requirement that retailers pay an overtime wage to Sunday and holiday workers. But it maintains that employees cannot be required to work on Sundays or holidays, or be punished for refusing to work on those days.

The third major component of the legislation introduces a new Paid Family and Medical Leave programme for Massachusetts employers and employees. Staff who contribute to the scheme will be given paid leave for up to 12 weeks per year to care for a family member or bond with a new child, 20 weeks per year to deal with a personal medical issue, and up to 26 weeks to deal with an emergency related to the deployment of a family member for military service.

Weekly benefit amounts will be calculated as a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage, with a maximum weekly benefit of US$850. Self-employed individuals may opt into the programme as well. For the law to apply to municipal employees, the city or town involved must vote to allow them to participate, according to the Insurance Journal.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

 

Massachusetts’ Governor has signed an Act into law that will boost the state’s minimum wage over the next five years, create a new paid family and medical leave programme and lead to an annual August sales tax holiday.

The Act – H4640 – has been referred to as the 'Grand Bargain' as it was designed to keep a series of questions off the November ballot, including a proposal to cut the state sales tax from the current 6.25% to 5%, The Associated Press reported.

Governor Charlie Baker said: "I am thankful that all parties came together, compromised and found common ground to produce a better set of policies than what the ballot questions represented. The Massachusetts workforce continues to grow with more and more people finding jobs, and our administration is committed to maintaining the Commonwealth’s competitive economic environment."

The legislation will create a permanent two-day weekend sales tax holiday. It will begin in August 2019, and the particular weekend will be determined by the legislature, according to Boston.com.

The Act will also gradually increase the Commonwealth’s minimum wage to US$15 per hour over the next five years, with an initial rise taking effect in January 2019. There will also be an increase in the minimum base wage rate for tipped workers up to US$6.75 that will likewise be phased in over five years starting from January 2019.

Wage policies for Sunday and holiday pay will be reformed too and brought into line with most other states across the country. In something of a compromise in favour of employers, the law gets rid of the requirement that retailers pay an overtime wage to Sunday and holiday workers. But it maintains that employees cannot be required to work on Sundays or holidays, or be punished for refusing to work on those days.

The third major component of the legislation introduces a new Paid Family and Medical Leave programme for Massachusetts employers and employees. Staff who contribute to the scheme will be given paid leave for up to 12 weeks per year to care for a family member or bond with a new child, 20 weeks per year to deal with a personal medical issue, and up to 26 weeks to deal with an emergency related to the deployment of a family member for military service.

Weekly benefit amounts will be calculated as a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage, with a maximum weekly benefit of US$850. Self-employed individuals may opt into the programme as well. For the law to apply to municipal employees, the city or town involved must vote to allow them to participate, according to the Insurance Journal.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

 

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