On November 4, 2014, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question that requires all private sector employers to provide employees with up to 40 hours of sick leave per calendar year. Under the new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2015, employers with 11 or more employees must provide employees with paid sick leave. Those employers under the threshold must provide unpaid sick leave. In enacting this law, Massachusetts joins California and Connecticut to become just the third state to require statewide paid sick leave.
Articles Discussing General Topics In Massachusetts Labor & Employment Law.
Voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have approved a ballot measure requiring Massachusetts employers to provide up to 40 hours of sick time each calendar year to all employees.
The (somewhat confusingly titled) Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) broadly prohibits states from enacting or enforcing laws that affect the prices, routes or services that motor carriers offer for the transportation of property. On September 30, 2014, in Massachusetts Delivery Association v. Coakley,1 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that the FAAAA may preempt one prong of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute, which requires that workers perform a service “outside the usual course of the business of the employer” to be classified as independent contractors.
A new Massachusetts law gives employees who are victims of domestic violence a right to job-protected leave from work.
Under new law, Massachusetts hospitals must limit the number of patients assigned to a nurse working in an intensive care unit (“ICU”) to no more than two. “An Act relative to patient limits in all hospital intensive care units,” signed by Governor Deval Patrick on June 30, 2014, applies to ICUs in all Massachusetts hospitals. The staffing-ratio legislation was backed by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (“MNA”), a labor union representing nurses and other health care workers.
Nearly 10 years ago, California became the first – and so far only – state to pass a law mandating hospitals assign a certain number of patients to each nurse. As we reported in May, a growing number of legislatures in other states have or are currently considering nurse-to-patient ratio legislation. In addition, a handful of federal bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate that similarly seek to implement nurse-to-patient staffing plans and would provide whistleblower protections for nurses who refuse to accept an assignment if they believe that doing so would violate the requirements of the law or that they lack the qualifications or experience necessary to perform an assignment. Such proposals include the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2013 (H.R. 1821); Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2013 (H.R. 1907); and the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act (S. 739). Another federal bill, the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 2480), would direct the Department of Labor to issue an occupational safety and health standard “to reduce injuries to patients, nurses, and all other health care workers by establishing a safe patient handling, mobility, and injury prevention standard.”
A flurry of new decisions from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) and the U.S. Supreme Court have approved the use of class action waivers in arbitration agreements. These decisions affirm that employers in Massachusetts can dramatically reduce their exposure to employment law class actions by adopting arbitration agreements that contain class action waivers.
Effective January 31, 2013, temporary staffing agencies in Massachusetts must provide temporary employees with written notice of certain information before the employees can go to a new assignment for work. The new law also prohibits staffing agencies from charging temporary employees for certain items and services related to employment.
In a disappointing development for Massachusetts employers, efforts by the Commonwealth Attorney General’s office to come up with a new bill negotiated with employer participation clarifying a vague and vexing provision of state law mandating that employees be notified promptly of adverse entries in their personnel records appear to have stalled as the current legislative session draws to a close.
On August 6, 2012, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the “Temporary Worker Right to Know Act.” The Act, which takes effect on November 5, 2012, places several new legal burdens on staffing agencies in Massachusetts, as well as companies that utilize their services. Specifically, the Act requires staffing agencies to provide detailed information to temporary workers regarding, among other things, their anticipated work duties and compensation. In addition, the Act limits the fees that can be charged to temporary workers for certain work-related materials and services.
Since the Massachusetts Personnel Records statute was amended in 2010 to place an affirmative duty on employers to notify employees of certain additions to a “personnel record,” Massachusetts employers have been concerned that the amendment was too vague and broad to be workable. At the urging of management-side representatives, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has sought assistance from management-side and employee-side representatives to draft clarifying legislation.
Thirty-nine percent of data breaches in the U.S. happened to businesses while the data was in the hands of third-party vendors, according to the 2010 Annual Study of the Ponemon Institute.
Massachusetts’ new law on criminal offender record information (“CORI”) bans the use of questions about criminal history on an “initial written application” for employment. This ban became effective November 4, 2010. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), charged with enforcement, has issued a Fact Sheet on how it intends to enforce the law. While the Fact Sheet does not have the force of a regulation or law, it provides valuable guidance for employers.