At the end of June, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the “grand bargain” bill. This bill has a significant effect on the state’s minimum wage, which will ultimately rise to $15 an hour over 5 years. The bill also includes a paid family and medical leave program, which will be implemented by 2021 and will ultimately change the way employers approach insured short term disability programs here in Massachusetts.
The law incrementally raises the current $11-an-hour minimum wage to $15 an hour from 2019 to 2023. Beginning in 2019, the state minimum wage will go up to $12 an hour and will continue in 75-cent increments each year from then on: $12.75 in 2020, $13.50 in 2021, $14.25 in 2022, and $15 in 2023. The minimum base wage rate for tipped workers will also increase over five years, starting in January 2019 to a maximum of $6.75.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
Beginning in 2021, Massachusett’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program will be implemented. This gives contributing employees up to 12 weeks a year to care for a family member or bond with a new child, 20 weeks a year to handle a personal medical problem, and up to 26 weeks to handle an emergency relating to a military family member’s deployment. Weekly benefits will be based on a percentage of employees’ average weekly wages, with $850 a week being the maximum payout. The law allows self-employed workers to opt into the program. However, for the program to cover municipal workers, cities and towns must vote to participate.
As new information and ultimately the regulations for this new law are developed, we will continue to keep you informed.