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2018: Year in Review

Published:  December 21, 2018

 

As 2018 winds to a close, it is helpful to look back at some of the major changes in labor and employment law that occurred this year.

Beginning January 1, 2018, Massachusetts Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (“EMAC”) Temporary Supplemental Contributions Plan went into effect. EMAC applies to employers with six or more employees. Employers are subject to EMAC Supplemental Contributions if one or more of their employees received health insurance through MassHealth or ConnectorCare for a continuous period of 14 days. The EMAC Supplemental Contribution amount imposes a penalty fee of up to $750.00 per employee. The EMAC is enforced by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance

You can read more about the changes and requirements by visiting our original post here: 

https://www.theroyallawfirm.com/news/women-labor/dua-proposes-employers-temporarily-contribute-more-health-insurance/

In March, the Mass. Attorney General published guidance to clarify the contours of the new provisions of the Massachusetts Pay Equity Act, which went into effect on July 1, 2018. This guidance helped clarify the definition of “comparable work,” and other enforcement mechanisms. It also laid out important guidance on how to conduct an appropriate pay equity audit to invoke the safe harbor provision.

You can read more about the changes and requirements by visiting our original post here: 

https://www.theroyallawfirm.com/news/women-labor/attorney-general-issues-guidance-massachusetts-equal-pay-act/

On April 1, 2018, the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act went into effect. The PWFA amended state discrimination law to require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees.

You can read more about the changes and requirements by visiting our original post here: 

https://www.theroyallawfirm.com/news/women-labor/notice-ma-pregnant-workers-fairness-act/

Also in April, criminal justice reform legislation became law, which amended Massachusetts’s existing Ban-the-Box laws. The new reforms changed the regulations regarding what an employer can and cannot ask an applicant during the application process, including reduce the period of time after a conviction during which a prospective employer can ask about certain criminal offenses. These amendments became effective in October 2018.

You can read more about the changes and requirements by visiting our original post here: 

https://www.theroyallawfirm.com/news/women-labor/massachusetts-governor-signs-criminal-justice-reform-bill-law/

In June 2018, the NLRB’s General Counsel issued guidance on the new interpretation of labor law as it relates to employee handbooks, following the Board’s ruling in the Boeing Company case. This guidance marked a massive departure from the Board’s previous interpretation of law. Under the old standard, facially neutral handbook policies may be unlawful if they had a “chilling effect” on rights protected under the NLRA. Under the new standard, facially neutral policies will be subjected to a balancing test, i.e., weighing the legitimate interest against the potential to interfere with protected rights.

You can read more about the changes and requirements by visiting our original post here: 

https://www.theroyallawfirm.com/news/women-labor/nlrb-issues-advisory-opinion-regarding-handbook-policies/

Also in June, Massachusetts passed the so-called “Grand Bargain” legislation, which made significant changes to several aspects of Massachusetts labor and employment law. The legislation created paid family leave beginning in 2021. The legislation also set new minimum wage rates that go into effect gradually over the next five years, ultimately reaching $15.00 per hour. This first gradual increase is effective January 1, 2019, wherein the minimum wage increases to $12.75 per hour (or $4.95 per hour for tipped employees). The legislation also amended Massachusetts’s Blue Laws to eliminate premium pay on Sundays.

You can read more about the changes and requirements by visiting our original post here: 

https://www.theroyallawfirm.com/news/women-labor/grand-bargain/

In August, Massachusetts passed new legislation aimed at reforming the practice of non-compete agreements. The legislation substantially limited the breadth and scope of enforceable NCA’s, and requires a “garden leave clause” in any enforceable NCA.

You can read more about the changes and requirements by visiting our original post here: 

https://www.theroyallawfirm.com/news/women-labor/governor-baker-signs-non-compete-bill-law/

If you have any questions about discrimination in the workplace or about any employment law related matters, please contact the attorneys at Royal, P.C.

 

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