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State Takes Action to Pass Minimum Wage and Paid Family & Medical Leave

July 3, 2018

On June 28, 2018, Governor Charles Baker of Massachusetts signed into law “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave and the Sales Tax Holiday,” sometimes called the “grand bargain” law.  The Massachusetts legislature had overwhelmingly passed the bill which will provide a $15 minimum wage and enhance the State’s Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit. While there’s been little progress at the federal level, Massachusetts has taken action to advance employment-related legislation.

Under the new law the Massachusetts minimum wage will gradually increase from the current $11 per hour to $15 per hour by 2023. Additionally, the bill includes a phase-out over five years of the time-and-a-half premium pay requirement for retail workers working on Sundays and holidays. The only other state currently with plans for a minimum wage as high as $15 is California whose plan is to be implemented by 2022.

The bill also contains provisions relating to family and medical leave. Over a 3-year phase-in period, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Law would provide Massachusetts employees to 12 weeks of paid family leave, and 20 weeks of paid medical leave for a worker’s serious health condition.  These provisions will apply to all employers with one or more employees working in Massachusetts. Built-in job protections will allow paid leave to be available to eligible new employees without any hours worked or service time requirements.

The passing of this bill makes Massachusetts one of the most generous paid family leave states in the country.