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Massachusetts Governor Signs Minimum Wage, Family and Medical Leave Bill

On June 28, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker signed “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Sales Tax Holiday” (HB 4640) into law. Last week, we covered three major changes the Act makes to Massachusetts law that employers should be aware of (available here). In short, the Act incrementally increases minimum wage for regular and tipped employees, gradually eliminates premium Sunday and holiday pay for retail workers, and institutes a paid family and medical leave program.

The Act, touted as a “grand bargain,” was designed, at least in part, as a bipartisan compromise to avoid comparable ballot questions this coming November. As a result, the legislation differs from the proposed ballot initiatives in several ways. Most notably, the ballot initiative did not contain a proposal to either decrease or eliminate premium Sunday and holiday pay for retail workers, as does the new law. There are also notable differences regarding the proposed minimum wage and paid leave proposals on the ballot initiatives, as compared to the new legislation:

Regular Minimum Wage

  • Ballot Initiative
    • Incremental increases from $11.00 per hour to $15.00 per hour from 2019 to 2022 ($1.00 per year)
    • Annual increases adjusted for inflation after 2022
  • HB 4640
    • Incremental increase from $11.00 to $15.00 per hour from 2019 to 2023 (between $0.25 per year and $1.00 per year)
    • No adjustments for inflation

Tipped Minimum Wage

  • Ballot Initiative
    • Incremental increases from $3.75 per hour to $9.00 per hour from 2019 to 2022 ($1.30 per year)
    • Annual increases adjusted for inflation after 2022
  • HB 4640
    • Incremental increases from $3.75 per hour to $6.75 per hour from 2019 to 2023 ($0.60 per year)
    • No adjustments for inflation

Paid Family and Medical Leave

  • Ballot Initiative
    • Effective January 1, 2019
    • 16 weeks of paid family leave
    • 26 weeks of paid medical leave
    • 26 week maximum of combined paid family and medical leave per benefit year
    • Weekly wages of 90% of the employee’s regular wage, up to a maximum of $1,000.00 per week
  • HB 4640
    • Effective January 1, 2021
    • 12 weeks of paid family leave
    • 20 weeks of paid medical leave
    • 26 week maximum of paid family and medical leave per benefit year
    • Weekly wages calculated based off a percentage of the state average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $850.00 per week
© 2019 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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About this Author

Mark W Batten, Labor & Employment Attorney, Proskauer Law Firm
Partner

Mark Batten is a Partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Class/Collective Action Group, resident in the Boston office.

Mark represents employers nationwide at all stages of complex employment litigation, including class and collective actions on wage and hour matters and discrimination claims. Ranked by Chambers USA, Mark is hailed as “a fabulous lawyer, handling interesting and complex cases.” Clients “highly recommend him to anyone seeking litigation counsel in the Boston area,” as well as note “he is...

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Samantha L. Regenbogen, Labor & Employment, Proskauer Law Firm
Associate

Samantha Regenbogen is a law clerk in the Labor & Employment Department. 

Samantha was a summer associate in Proskauer's New York Office, and was involved in drafting briefs and memorandums for both wage and hour class actions and single-plaintiff discrimination cases. Before joining Proskauer, Samantha was an intern with the Enforcement Unit of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, where she investigated complaints and drafted dispositions.

During her time at Harvard Law School, Samantha served as a board member of the Women's Law Association and was a cast member and artistic director of the HLS Parody.

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Laura Franks, law clerk, labor and employment law
Law Clerk

Laura Franks is a law clerk in the Labor & Employment Law Department.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Laura graduated from University of Virginia Law School where she was the Executive Editor of the University of Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal. Laura was also a member of the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia School of Law clinic and was President of the Virginia Sports Law Society. While in law school, Laura interned with the National Hockey League and the University of Virginia Office of the General Counsel. 

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