By: Maura E. Malone
On August 1, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed “An Act to Establish Pay Equity (the Act)” into law. The Act, which does not become effective until July 1, 2018, will require Massachusetts employers to pay men and women equally for comparable work. It also forbids employers from asking prospective employees about salary history or restricting employee discussion of pay. The Act imposes significant consequences for
violations of the law.
The Act will make it unlawful for employers to pay unequal wages to employees of different genders who perform comparable work. The Act broadly defines wages to include “all forms of remuneration for employment.”
Continue reading on the full alert.
By, Sandra E. Kahn
On May 18, 2016, President Obama announced the publication of the U.S. Department of
Labor’s final rule (“Final Rule”) updating the overtime regulations, and providing that employees who earn less than $47,476 annually will be entitled to overtime.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) “white collar” exemptions are familiar to most employers. Under the FLSA, employees must be paid the minimum amount required by the statute on a salary basis, and the employee’s job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties. The Final Rule changes only the salary basis test, leaving in place the existing duties test.
The earned sick time law was approved by the voters on November 4, 2014. This law entitles employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions, and will go into effect July 1, 2015. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has announced a transition policy under which employers who offer sufficient sick leave or paid time off to workers now have a six-month transition period in which to bring their policies into compliance with the new Massachusetts paid sick leave law.
To learn more about the transition policy, please see our full Employment Law Alert.
In a recent decision, a Massachusetts trial court judge decided that a medical practice could not enforce noncompetition and patient nonsolicitation provisions contained in both an employment agreement and an asset purchase agreement against a physician. This case is the first reported instance where a Massachusetts court has voided such restrictions in an asset purchase agreement.
This month, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure regarding employee entitlement to receive paid sick leave. Effective July 2015, employers of eleven or more employees are now required to provide paid sick leave. As a result of the new requirement, both full and part time employees are eligible for up to 40 hours of annual paid sick leave. For purposes of calculating whether an employer falls within the eleven employee threshold, the law considers any person who performs services for wage, remuneration, or other compensation at the status of full-time, part-time, or temporary employees. To ensure compliance, employers who previously did not offer paid sick time should begin the revisions of existing policies and handbooks.
For more information on what this means for employees, please see the full Alert.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a member of our Employment Law Group.
This summer, the family-owned grocery store chain Market Basket has been engaged in a contentious and public dispute over ownership and control of the chain. As a result, thousands of jobs have hung in the balance. In a joint letter, the Attorneys General of Massachusetts and New Hampshire recently used the dispute to remind Market Basket of its legal obligations to employees. The joint letter applies to employers generally, and provides a helpful synopsis of some of the obligations and risks involved in employee terminations.
For further information or questions about employee terminations, contact a member of our Employment Law Group.
The minimum wage in Massachusetts is set to increase on January 1, 2015 for the first time since 2008. On June 26, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill into law which will raise the hourly minimum wage for non-tipped employees from $8.00 an hour as follows:
- Beginning January 1, 2015, to $9.00.
- Beginning January 1, 2016, to $10.00.
- Beginning January 1, 2017, to $11.00.
The hourly minimum cash wage for tipped workers will increase from $2.63 to $3.00 an hour on January 1, 2015, and again to $3.75 an hour on January 1, 2017. As a result of these increases, Massachusetts’ minimum wage will be amongst the highest in the country.
Compliance with Massachusetts’ minimum wage laws is important since the failure to do so will result in a violation of the Massachusetts “Payment of Wages” statute, M.G.L. c.149, §148 (the “Wage Act”). Violations of the Wage Act carry a high price and are subject to mandatory treble (triple) damages and attorney’s fees, even if an employer has acted in good faith. Wage Act violations can also result in criminal penalties and civil liability for the employer as well for as the president, treasurer, and individual “officers and agents” of the employer.
For more information on the Massachusetts minimum wage increase or wage and hour compliance generally, contact a member of the Employment Law Group.