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Current Legislation in Massachusetts

Click on a bill number below to get information on the bill

General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: https://malegislature.gov/

HD 543 - An Act Creating a Training Wage

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure provides that the state minimum wage does not apply during the first 480 hours of employment, considered a training period. This measure prohibits a wage below $10.00 per hour in any occupation during a training period unless the commissioner has expressly approved the establishment and payment of a lesser wage.

HD 584 - An Act Creating a Youth Wage

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure establishes the federal minimum wage as the youth wage in Massachusetts.

This measure provides that the state minimum wage does not apply to workers under eighteen years of age who work less than twenty hours per week. The minimum wage for those works is the federal minimum wage.

HD 945 - An Act Relative to the Protection of Essential Businesses

Issue: COVID-19 Liability Protection

This measure grants essential businesses immunity from suit and civil liability stemming from any exposure to COVID-19 on the premises of the business, or as a result of the operations of the business.

This measure conditions immunity on the business operating in good faith and in compliance with required COVID-19 precautions, and voids immunity in case of fraud, deceptive acts or practices, negligence, or in the event of discrimination. This measure clarifies that claims may still be brought under workers’ compensation statutes and regulations, or any healthcare or employment agreements. This measure provides for this act to be in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

HD 1546 - An Act Relative to the Scheduling of Employees

Issue: Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure requires an employer to provide a good faith estimate of a schedule upon hiring an employee. An employer must provide 14 days notice for all shifts, and must compensate employees at higher rates for shifts worked that were assigned after the 14 days. An employer may not hire new employees without first offering all available hours to current employees.

This measure states that upon hiring an employer must provide an employee with a good faith estimate of their schedule.  The good faith estimate must include the average number of work hours the employee can expect to work each week, whether the employee can expect to work any on-call shifts, and a subset of days and a subset of times or shifts that the employee can expect to work, or days of the week and times or shifts on which the employee will not be scheduled to work. The employee may make requests of their schedule, including requests not to be scheduled for work shifts during certain days or times or at certain locations, requests not to work on-call shifts, requests for certain hours, days, or locations of work, and requests for more or fewer work hour.

An employer is required to provide a work schedule at least 14 days in advance. An employer who fails to post a written work schedule at least 14 calendar days before the first day of the work schedule must compensate each employee in the amount of $75 per day that the schedule is not posted. Any changes made to the scheduled must be reflected within 24 hours of the change being made.

For each employer-initiated change to the posted work schedule that occurs after the advance notice required, a covered employer must pay an employee predictability pay at the following rates:

(1) One hour of predictability pay when the covered employer adds hours of work or changes the date, time, or location of a work shift with no loss of hours.

(2) No less than one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay per hour for any scheduled hours the employee does not work when the covered employer subtracts hours from a regular or on-call shift or cancels a regular or on-call shift.

A covered employer is not required to pay predictability pay when an employee requests a shift change in writing including, but not limited to, the use of sick leave, vacation leave, or other leave policies offered by the employer, a schedule change is the result of a mutually agreed upon shift trade or coverage arrangement between employees, subject to any existing employer policy regarding required conditions for employees to exchange shifts, the employee did not intend to work a scheduled shift for any reason, the covered employer’s operations cannot begin or continue due to: threats to the employees or the employer’s property, the failure of a public utility or the shutdown of public transportation, a fire, flood or other natural disasters, a state of emergency declared by the president of the United States or the governor, or severe weather conditions that pose a threat to employee safety.

An employee may decline, without penalty, any work hours that are scheduled or otherwise occur less than 11 hours after the end of the previous day’s shift, or during the 11 hours following the end of a shift that spanned 2 days. For any of those shifts that are worked the employee must be compensated at 1 and a half times pay.

Before hiring new employees from an external applicant pool or subcontractors, including hiring through the use of temporary services or staffing agencies, a covered employer shall offer work shifts to existing employees. If all employees decline the offered shifts then the employer may hire new employees.

SD 412 - An Act Relative to the Scheduling of Employees

Issue: Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure requires covered employers provide a good faith estimate of an employee's work schedule. This measure requires a written schedule be presented with sufficient notice. This measure requires employers provide reasonable notice of any changes in the schedule. They may not require an employee work without providing sufficient notice. This measure prohibits an employer from interfering with predictive scheduling rights. This measure defines terms including covered employer, employer, and predictability pay.

This measure requires that upon hiring an employee, a covered employer must provide the employee with a written, good faith estimate of the employee’s work schedule. The employer must revise the good faith estimate when there is a significant change to the employee’s work schedule due to changes in the employee’s availability or to the employer’s business needs. The good faith estimate is not a contractual offer binding the employer, but an estimate made without a good faith basis is a violation. The good faith estimate must contain:

  1. The average number of work hours the employee can expect to work each week;
  2. Whether the employee can expect to work any on-call shifts;
  3. A subset of days and a subset of times or shifts that the employee can expect to work, or days of the week and times or shifts on which the employee will not be scheduled to work.

At the time of hire and during employment, the employee has the right to make work schedule requests. This measure encourages employers to engage in an interactive process to discuss such employee requests, but may grant or deny the request for any reason that is not unlawful. The requests may include but are not limited to:

  1. Requests not to be scheduled for work shifts during certain days or times or at certain locations,
  2. Requests not to work on-call shifts,
  3. Requests for certain hours, days, or locations of work,
  4. Requests for more or fewer work hours.

This measure requires that written notice of the work schedule must be provided by posting the work schedule in a conspicuous place at the workplace that is readily accessible and visible to all employees and transmitting the posted work schedule to each employee. The schedule must feature a work schedule at least fourteen calendar days before the first day of the work schedule. Transmission may be done electronically if electronic means are regularly used to communicate scheduling information to employees. The posted work schedule must include the shifts of all current employees at that worksite, whether or not they are scheduled to work or be on-call that week.

A covered employer must provide notice of any proposed changes to the employee’s posted work schedule as promptly as possible and prior to the change taking effect. The employer must revise the written work schedule to reflect any changes within 24 hours of making the change. An employee may decline to work any hours not included in the posted work schedule. If the employee voluntarily consents to work such hours, such consent must be recorded in writing. An employee may decline, without penalty, any work hours that are scheduled or otherwise occur less than 11 hours after the end of the previous day’s shift, or during the 11 hours following the end of a shift that spanned two days. An employee may consent to work such shifts, however consent must be provided in writing, either for each such shift or for multiple shifts, and may be revoked in writing at any time during employment. An employer must compensate the employee for each instance that the employee works a last minute shift at one and one-half times the employee’s scheduled rate of pay for the hours worked that are less than eleven hours apart.

This measure prohibits an employer or any other person from interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any right of scheduling provided in this measure. No person may take any adverse action against an employee that penalizes such employee for, or is reasonably likely to deter such employee from, exercising or attempting to exercise any right protected under this chapter.

Covered employer is defined as an employer that is a retail establishment, a hospitality establishment and a food services establishment that employs 50 or more employees worldwide regardless of where those employees perform work, including but not limited to chain establishments or franchises associated with a franchisor or network of franchises that employ more than 50 employees in aggregate. In determining the number of employees for purposes of this definition, all employees performing work for compensation on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis shall be counted, provided that where the number of employees who work for an employer for compensation fluctuates, business size may be determined for the current calendar year based upon the average number of employees who worked for compensation per week during the preceding calendar year, and provided further that in determining the number of employees performing work for an employer that is a chain business, the total number of employees in that group of establishments may be counted.

Employer is defined as any individual, corporation, partnership or other private or public entity, including any agent thereof, who engages the services of an employee for wages, remuneration or other compensation, except the United States government shall not be considered an Employer and cities and towns shall only be considered Employers for the purposes of this law if this law is accepted by vote or by appropriation as provided by Article CXC of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth.

Predictability Pay is defined as payments to an employee, calculated on an hourly basis at the employee’s regular hourly rate, as compensation from changes made by the employer to an employee’s work schedule. An employer must pay an employee predictability pay, when required by this Chapter, in addition to any wages earned for work performed by the employee.