Massachusetts Employment and Labor Law Updates 2018

June 28 – Gov. Baker signed a law create a paid family and medical wage replacement and leave insurance program

On June 28, 2018, Governor Baker signed House Bill 4640. This new law creates a paid family and medical insurance program. Under the program, employees may file a claim for wage replacement benefits when they take leave from employment for qualifying family and medical reasons. Employers are required to allow employees to take leave during the approved period and to grant employees certain reemployment rights. Qualifying family and medical leave reasons include:

  • to bond with the covered individual’s child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth or the first 12 months after the placement of the child for adoption or foster care with the covered individual
  • because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces
  • to care for a family member who is a covered servicemember
  • the employees own serious health condition
  • to care for a family member with a serious health condition

Employees are eligible for 12 or 26 weeks of wage replacement and leave benefits depending on the type of leave taken. The family and medical leave wage replacement payments will be funded by contributions made through payroll deductions from employees. Other requirements and restrictions apply.

On January 1, 2019, employers will be required to begin making the program funding payroll deductions. On January 1, 2021, the program will begin making wage replacement payments to qualifying employees.
April 13 – Gov. Baker signed a law modify the state’s fair chance (ban the box) rules

On April 13, 2018, Governor Baker signed Senate Bill 2371. This new law modifies the state’s existing ban the box, fair chance law which governs employer use of criminal records in the hiring process by:

  • limiting the time period employers may ask employees about misdemeanor convictions to three years
  • prohibiting employers from inquiring about sealed or expunged criminal records.
The new law becomes effective on October 13, 2018.

March 12 – The Attorney General’s office issued guidance on upcoming changes to the state’s equaly pay law

On April 13, 2018, the Attorney General’s office issued a informational document entitled An Act to Establish Pay Equity: Overview and Frequently Asked Questions that discusses changes to the state’s Equaly Pay Act that go into effect on July 1, 2018.