Yesterday, the Department of Labor issued preliminary guidance concerning the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”), which was passed just six days ago. The guidance provides some clarity on a few key issues:
As people everywhere struggle to adjust to the rapid changes caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the financial impact on businesses and employees has been a primary concern. Employees are facing reduced work hours and layoffs as businesses scale back or close. At the same time, employees are dealing with the reality of a serious health threat to themselves and family members. The scale of disruption to the normal functioning of businesses and to people’s lives is unprecedented.
On June 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill titled “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Sales Tax Holiday” (H.4640). The new law, dubbed the “Grand Bargain,” implements incremental increases in Massachusetts’ minimum wage over the next five years, and creates a new paid family and medical leave program in the Commonwealth. A full text of the bill can be found here.
Minimum Wage Increase
The law increases the minimum wage from $11.00 to $15.00 over the course of five years. In 2019, the minimum wage will increase from $11.00 to $12.00. Thereafter, it will continue to increase each year in $0.75 increments until it reaches $15 in 2023. The Grand Bargain also results in a five-year phase out of the requirement of premium pay for hours worked on Sunday.
Tipped employees will also receive a boost from the current $3.75/hour tipped minimum wage, which will increase by $0.60 increments each year until 2023 when the tipped minimum wage will be $6.75/hour.
Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
Reflecting a nationwide trend, the law establishes a Paid Family and Medical Leave program to take effect on January 1, 2021. The program will entitle eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave, with a maximum of 26 combined weeks of paid leave in the same year.
Individuals eligible for leave include employees, self-employed individuals, and certain former employees. The program will be funded by employers and employees through a payroll tax.…