Massachusetts adds veteran status as a protected class

by Susan G. Fentin

Now that a new Massachusetts law adding veteran status as a protected class under the state’s antidiscrimination law is in effect, employers need to take a look at their employee handbook provisions related to veterans.    Proud saluting male army soldier on american flag background

At the end of the last legislative session, the Massachusetts Legislature passed An Act Relative to Housing Operations, Military Service and Enrichment. The main purpose of the law, which took effect in July, is to give veterans who have disabilities that are 100 percent related to their military service greater access to housing. But the statute contains two provisions that may require employers to revise their handbooks.

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Massachusetts passes broad new pay equity law

A new Massachusetts pay equity law going into effect on July 1, 2018, contains provisions that are much broader than current federal law and even prohibits employers from screening applicants based on their salary or wage history.

Although the law doesn’t take effect for nearly two years, employers are advised to start planning immediately in order to be in compliance on time.

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New Massachusetts law to expand transgender protection

by Stefanie M. Renaud

Massachusetts law has prohibited discrimination against transgender people in employment and housing since 2011, but a new law taking effect on October 1 will expand transgender protections to places of public accommodation.

On July 8, Governor Charles Baker signed into law a bill that prohibits discrimination against persons because of their gender identity in places of public accommodation.

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Massachusetts final sick leave regulations make substantial changes

by Susan G. Fentin

Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey recently issued final regulations for the state’s new earned sick time law that aren’t quite what employers were expecting. As a result, employers are scrambling to update their sick time policies before the July 1 compliance deadline.

Language in a “model notice” that the AG posted earlier in June turned out to be misleading in two significant ways: read more…

Model notice for new Massachusetts paid sick leave law published

by Kimberly A. Klimczuk

The Massachusetts attorney general (AG) has published a model notice that employers may use to fulfill their obligations to notify employees about the state’s new earned sick leave law that goes into effect on July 1.

In addition, the AG has issued a new “safe harbor” notice that makes it easier for employers to take advantage of the safe-harbor protection. Under that process, qualified employers will have until January 1, 2016, to bring their paid time off (PTO) and related policies into full compliance with the sick leave law.

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‘Safe harbor’ available for Massachusetts paid sick time law

May 22, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The Massachusetts attorney general has announced a “safe harbor” provision that may provide relief to at least some employers covered by the state’s new earned sick time law.

The law, which voters approved in the November 4, 2014, election, takes effect on July 1, but the safe harbor gives some employers until January 1, 2016, to come into full compliance.

Under the new law, employers with at least 11 employees must allow their workers to accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, for a maximum of 40 hours a year. Employers with fewer than 11 employees must allow them to accrue and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per year.

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Massachusetts employers need to be ready for new sick leave law before July 1

by Kimberly A. Klimczuk

Employers with operations in Massachusetts can finally get a look at proposed regulations concerning the earned sick time law that goes into effect July 1.

The new law requires employers with at least 11 employees to provide paid sick leave. Employees will accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, for a maximum of 40 hours a year. Employers with fewer than 11 employees must allow them to accrue and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per year.

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Obama takes steps toward requiring paid sick leave

January 15, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Is it a sensible plan to boost productivity and give workers the help they deserve, or is it an unaffordable, unfair mandate on already overburdened employers? President Barack Obama’s announcement of a push to pass a paid sick leave law is likely to garner both reactions.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, launched the effort January 14 with a post on the career-centered social network LinkedIn, a venue chosen because of its high profile with employers.

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New Massachusetts law requires paid sick leave

Voters in Massachusetts approved a law in the November 4 election that requires certain employers to provide paid sick leave. The law takes effect July 1, 2015.

Under the law, Massachusetts employers with at least 11 employees must provide paid sick leave. Employees will accrue paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2015, at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year. Employees won’t be eligible to take paid leave unless and until they have worked for the employer for 90 days.

In addition to paid leave, the new law means employers with fewer than 11 employees must allow employees to accrue and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.

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New Massachusetts law provides leave for domestic violence victims

by Susan Fentin

Employers in Massachusetts with at least 50 employees are now required to allow employees who are victims of domestic violence to take up to 15 days of unpaid leave within a 12-month period to deal with the violence.

The law, which went into effect August 8, also allows leave for covered family members of domestic violence victims. Covered family members include husbands; wives; those in a “substantive” dating or engagement relationship and who live together; persons having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; a parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild; and guardians.

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