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Maryland's Healthy Working Families Act Requires Employers in the State to Provide Sick/Safe Leave

Executive Summary: On January 12, 2018, the Maryland Legislature overrode Governor Hogan’s 2017 veto of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (the “Act”). As a result, Maryland employers with 15 or more employees are now required to provide for up to 40 hours of paid sick leave on annual basis to eligible employees, and employers with 14 or fewer employees must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick/safe leave on an annual basis to eligible employees. In addition to the sick leave requirement, the Act imposes notification and recordkeeping requirements and sets out a significant enforcement scheme that includes the potential imposition of treble damage penalties for violations.

Massachusetts High Court Rules that Investors and Board Members are not Personally Liable for Unpaid Wages Under State Law

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently held that individuals acting as board members and investors cannot be held personally liable under the Massachusetts Payment of Wages Law, M.G.L. c. 149, § 148, for a company’s failure to pay wages. Only board members or investors who also served as an officer or agent “having the management” of the company can be subjected to personal liability. This is a significant decision, given that the Payment of Wages Law carries substantial penalties for noncompliance.

Massachusetts Non-Compete Legislation – A Walk Through the ‘Garden’ ... Leave Provision

With the approaching New Year bringing the possible passage of non-compete legislation in Massachusetts, we examine here the “Garden Leave” provision included in several proposed bills. The proposed “Garden Leave Bills” attempt to limit the frequency of enforcement of non-compete agreements and require compensation to employees for any financial hardship caused in the event their former employers pursue enforcement of the agreements.

In The Weeds: A Close Inspection Of The Massachusetts Legislature’s Garden Leave Push

The Massachusetts Legislature has spent the past several years seeking to regulate the use of restrictive covenant agreements in the Commonwealth. Despite repeatedly falling short in that initiative, the 2017 legislative session strongly signaled the Legislature’s enduring interest in this subject by introducing a whopping eight new competing bills.

Prince George's County, Maryland Enacts Paid "Safe" Time Law

On December 12, 2017, Prince George’s County, Maryland enacted Bill Number CB-87-2017, which mandates that covered employees be allowed to accrue and use paid leave for absences connected to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. For employers covered by one or more paid sick and safe time (PSST) laws – such as Montgomery County’s – the new law will be familiar because it follows the framework, and contains many of the same provisions, common to PSST laws. A key difference is that leave under the Prince George’s County law may only be used for what is more commonly known as “safe time.”1 The law is scheduled to take effect 45 calendar days after the Maryland General Assembly adjourns in 2018. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on April 9, 2018,2 setting the effective date at May 24, 2018. Below we discuss what the law requires and highlight common areas of concern to employers where the law is silent.3

Massachusetts Once Again Is Considering Enacting Comprehensive Noncompete Legislation

For nearly a decade, Massachusetts legislators have considered various bills aimed at regulating the use of noncompetition agreements in the commonwealth. Noncompetes currently are governed by Massachusetts case law which, although relatively well developed, sometimes leads to inconsistent results, in turn leading to uncertainty as to what restrictions will be enforced. Many proponents of noncompete legislation also believe that the current system has resulted in employers’ overuse and/or abuse of noncompetition agreements. On the other hand, some business advocates argue that noncompete agreements stifle innovation and new business creation in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Veterans May Be Entitled to Paid Leave on Veterans Day

Massachusetts employers are reminded that, per legislation signed by Governor Charlie Baker in July 2016, qualifying veterans scheduled to work on Veterans Day who wish to participate in Veterans Day activities in their communities may be entitled to paid leave from their employers to do so. The legislation, officially titled An Act Relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment or the HOME Act, amends a prior law that only required employers to grant veterans unpaid leave to participate in Veterans Day and Memorial Day activities provided they gave their employers “reasonable notice.”

Preparing for the New Massachusetts Equal Pay Law, Part II: Which Policies to Revise in Light of the Upcoming Effective Date

As we get closer to the July 1, 2018 implementation date for the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), it is time to focus in earnest on practical workplace considerations for affected employers. Although the MEPA does not dictate what specific language employment policies must include, employers should align their internal policies and practices with the law’s detailed requirements. Employment policies that may require revision or amendment in order to comply with the provisions of MEPA cover not only compensation, but also hiring practices, interview procedures, commissions, merit-based bonuses, and confidentiality. Employers also should reviewing and updating their written employment applications, offer letters, onboarding materials, and job descriptions to ensure compliance with MEPA. These documents may include questions about salary history, explain company practices with regard to making compensation decisions, or otherwise touch on areas covered by MEPA.

Updates to Massachusetts Cybersecurity Laws

Coming on the heels of several high profile data breaches, lawmakers in the Bay State have turned their attention to evaluating and improving cybersecurity across the Commonwealth. The State Legislature has created a special committee on cybersecurity readiness and is working its way through several bills on data privacy and security (see below). In addition, Governor Baker has established a new department devoted to information technology, titled the “Executive Office of Technology Services and Security.”

Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Takes Effect April 1, 2018

Executive Summary: A new Massachusetts law, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, will expand existing legal protections for pregnant employees beginning April 1, 2018. Most notably, employers will be required to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and related conditions, including lactation and the need to express breast milk.