The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has released template notices employers may use to fulfill the notice requirement to employees and 1099-MISC independent contractors under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA), G.L. c. 175M. Employers must provide a notice to their current workforce by May 31, 2019.
Articles About Massachusetts Labor and Employment Law.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) recently discussed class certification in state court wage and hour cases in Gammella v. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.1 The SJC held that the same civil procedure rules applicable to other class actions also apply to wage claims. It also found that uncertainty in the exact number of persons who might have a valid claim is not a reason for denying class action treatment. The SJC further held that making an offer of judgment to a class action plaintiff that includes all potential relief she might recover does not extinguish that person’s claims.
UPDATE: The changes to the Massachusetts data breach notification law described below are now in effect. Thus, if you have discovered a data incident involving the personal information of Massachusetts residents you will want to review these changes carefully – they are significant and the Commonwealth is intent on educating the public about them.
Pending legislation could create new consumer privacy rights in Massachusetts. Earlier this year, Senator Cynthia Creem presented An Act Relative to Consumer Data Privacy in the Massachusetts Senate. This Consumer Privacy Bill, SD.341, combines key aspects of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). This bill would allow Massachusetts consumers a private right of action if their personal information or biometric information (referred to separately in the bill) is improperly collected.
On March 29, 2019, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) released an updated version of the proposed Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) regulations, offering further clarification to one of the most generous paid family and medical leave programs in the nation.
The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has published updated draft regulations implementing the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PFMLA) that, in many respects, substantially change or add to the initial draft regulations published in January 2019.
The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has released a new guide for employers on the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA), G.L. c. 175M. The guide clarifies some questions generated by draft regulations published in January. The guide, released on March 26, 2019, explains what actions employers must take in the coming months.
The Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave law (PFML) will require most private employers to provide covered individuals with paid family and medical leave funded through a payroll tax. Beginning April 29, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (the “Department”) will offer approved plan applications for employers seeking an exemption from collecting, remitting, and paying contributions under the PFML that would otherwise be due beginning on July 1, 2019.
On March 15, 2019, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the “agricultural” exemption to the Massachusetts Overtime Law, M.G.L. c. 151, § 1A, does not apply to workers who perform post-harvesting activities. This decision, in the case of Arias-Villano v. Chang & Sons Enterprises, Inc., greatly expands the number of employees who are eligible for overtime under state law. In reaching this decision, the court also demonstrated that just because an employee may be exempt from overtime under federal law does not automatically mean that the employee also is exempt under the Massachusetts Overtime Law.
Rejecting the federal standard for determining whether a party has “prevailed” on his or her claim under the Massachusetts Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, §§ 148 & 150, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held instead that the less-stringent “catalyst” test applies. As a result, plaintiffs who received $20,500 in a settlement under the Act were entitled to an award of attorney’s fees. Ferman v. Sturgis Cleaners, Inc., 481 Mass. 488, 2019 Mass. LEXIS 96 (Feb. 19, 2019).
Things continue to progress with respect to implementation of the new Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA). Click here for a summary of the key provisions of the law. A new agency, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has been formed to implement and administer the PFMLA, and they have created a helpful and user-friendly website.
On January 29, 2019, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that failing to grant a lateral transfer for discriminatory reasons may constitute an “adverse employment action” that violates Massachusetts law, G.L. c. 151B. An employee may therefore be able to recover for illegal discrimination even if the position requested provides exactly the same base salary and benefits as his or her current position. The decision expands the scope of potential discrimination claims under Massachusetts law and may make it more difficult for employers to prevail on motions for summary judgment.
The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has released draft regulations for the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (G.L. c. 175M). The proposed regulations, released on January 23, 2019, track many of the statute’s requirements. In addition to the draft regulations, the Department provided information on the amounts employers must contribute into the Trust Fund that will finance these paid leaves.
On January 23, 2019, the newly-created Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (Department) released proposed regulations clarifying the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees under the new Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave Law (MFMLL). The MFMLL will require all private employers in Massachusetts to provide covered individuals with paid family and medical leave funded through a payroll tax.1 Under the proposed regulations, it appears that the Department will be responsible for, among other things, making decisions about whether to approve employees for paid leave under the MFMLL once the law goes into effect on January 1, 2021.
The newly-created Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has stated that it plans to publish draft regulations for the recently enacted Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law no later than January 23, 2019. In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has scheduled a number of public listening sessions on the draft regulations throughout the state, beginning with a session in Boston on January 30, 2019. A complete list of these public listening sessions can be found at this link.