Massachusetts Passes Minimum Wage and Paid Leave Law

By Kelsey Basten

Published on July 5, 2018

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker approved a new law that will increase the minimum wage and require paid leave for employees on Thursday, June 28, 2018.

On Jan. 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase from $11.00 to $12.00.  It will increase each year until it reaches $15 in 2023.

Also, the tipped minimum wage increases on Jan. 1, 2019 from $3.75 to $4.35.  It will increase each year until it reaches $6.75 by 2023.

Retail employee wages will also be impacted. Currently, Massachusetts law states retail employees must be paid time-and-a-half rate on Sundays. Under the new law, the Sunday pay rate will decrease over the next five years until it is gradually eliminated on Jan. 1, 2023. The first decrease will take place Jan. 1, 2019 and will lower the rate to one and four-tenths the employee’s regular rate.

In addition to increasing the minimum wage, employers will be required to provide employees with 12 weeks of paid family leave and up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave beginning in 2021. Under the law, employees cannot take more than 26 combined weeks of paid leave in a single year.

The bill does not require that an employer employ a threshold minimum number of employees to trigger coverage. However, employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to pay the employer portion of the payroll tax that funds the program.

Employees may use family leave for:

  • Bonding with a new child within the first 12 months after birth or adoption
  • Care for a close family member with a serious health condition
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of an employee’s family member’s active duty or notification of an impending call or order to be in the Armed Forces
  • Personal illness or health conditions

Image from Human Rights Campaign

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