As discussed in our prior Alert, the Massachusetts Legislature has been considering legislation focused on reforming non-compete covenants. The Legislature has now passed a major overhaul of non-compete law, known as the “Massachusetts Noncompetition Act.” Assuming Governor Charlie Baker signs the bill, it will apply to noncompetition agreements entered into on or after October 1, 2018. This Alert summarizes the key provisions of the Act.
Articles About Massachusetts Labor and Employment Law.
Just before midnight on July 31, 2018, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill regulating the use of non-compete agreements in the Commonwealth. This development is a long time coming, as the Legislature had been attempting for nearly a decade to create a non-compete law.
The Massachusetts Legislature, at long last, has passed a bill regulating the use and enforcement of non-compete agreements in the private sector. Once “An Act relative to the judicial enforcement of noncompetition agreements” is signed by Governor Charlie Baker, it will take effect on October 1, 2018.
Executive Summary: For several years, Massachusetts has tried—and failed—to pass restrictions on non-compete covenants, and this year is no exception. Massachusetts’ 2017-18 legislative session includes seven bills focusing on reforming non-compete covenants. Yet just this week, Massachusetts’ legislature released a new economic development bill, S.2625, that would significantly limit the use of non-compete clauses in employment.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), the state’s highest court, has held that an Initiative Petition (Initiative Petition 17-07) seeking to create a new law (“The Patient Safety Act”) that would dictate to hospitals and acute care units in state-operated health care facilities the number of patients that may be assigned to a registered nurse is constitutional and could be placed on the November ballot if a sufficient number of supporting signatures were submitted to the Secretary of the Commonwealth by July 3. Supporters of the Initiative Petition submitted the required number of signatures by July 3, so it will be placed on the November ballot as Question #1.
The new “grand bargain” legislation Governor Charlie Baker signed into law last week gradually phases out the requirement that Massachusetts retailers pay time-and-a-half for work on Sundays or certain holidays. However, this phase-out has a hidden complication: payment of less than time-and-a-half for work on Sunday or holidays is not credited towards overtime for work over 40 hours in a week, and therefore must be included in the regular rate. This means retailers may be required to account for extra premium pay for employees who work on Sundays or holidays.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed a sweeping bill that, over a period of five years, will: (1) raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour; (2) mandate paid family and medical leave for Massachusetts employees; and (3) phase out Sunday and holiday premium pay for retail employees. The law, signed on June 28, 2018, also will institute an annual sales tax holiday weekend. The first minimum wage increase, to $12.00 an hour, and first decrease in Sunday and holiday premium pay will go into effect on January 1, 2019.
Like New Jersey’s Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) amendments went into effect on July 1, 2018. Regarded as one of the first comprehensive fair pay laws to be passed at the state level, MEPA has served as not only as a catalyst, but a model, for the patchwork of fair pay laws being enacted across the nation.
On June 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker executed legislation that makes sweeping changes to Massachusetts law. As part of this so-called “Grand Bargain” legislation (the “Act”), Massachusetts will incrementally raise the minimum wage from $11 to $15 an hour and eliminate the need for most retail employees to receive premium pay for work performed on Sundays and holidays. The new law also creates one of the most generous paid family and medical leave programs in the country. Massachusetts now joins California, New York and Washington, D.C. as the only states to have both a $15 minimum wage and mandatory paid family and medical leave.
Executive Summary: The federal Equal Pay Act already imposes limitations on employers when it comes to compensating employees of the opposite sex for equal work. With a recent legislative change in Massachusetts and a decision earlier this month out of the Ninth Circuit, however, several jurisdictions now prohibit the use of prior salary as a justification for any pay differential between men and women.
A provision in the Massachusetts criminal justice reform law signed by Governor Charlie Baker amends the state’s restrictions on the questions employers may ask a job applicant regarding the applicant’s criminal history during the hiring process. The new restrictions include an adjusted limitation on asking about misdemeanor convictions and a bar on asking about sealed or expunged criminal records.
Ever since Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the state Equal Pay Act (MEPA) on August 1, 2016, employers have been seeking direction on how employee pay should be analyzed to withstand scrutiny under the new law. MEPA goes into effect on July 1, 2018.
Health insurance carriers often provide explanation of benefits (EOB) summaries to the policyholder specifying the type and cost of health care services received by dependents covered by the policy. EOBs often disclose sensitive information regarding the mental or physical health condition of adult dependents. Massachusetts has now enacted a law, an act to protect access to confidential health care (the PATCH Act), that permits patients to require their insurance carriers to send their medical information only to them as opposed to the policyholder.
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) on February 28, 2018, issued questions and answers (Q&A) to provide additional interpretive information about the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). This updates the MCAD’s January guidance. The PWFA becomes effective on April 1, 2018.
The Massachusetts Attorney General has recently published an Overview and Frequently Asked Questions (the “Overview”) regarding the amendment to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, set to take effect on July 1, 2018. The Overview answers many questions that employers have been asking about this wide-ranging new law. The Overview also confirms the importance of an employer self-evaluation, offering some direction on what types of evaluations are appropriate, and explaining how it could protect a company from liability under the law.