Massachusetts Attorney General Announces Upcoming July Webinars and Information Sessions Regarding the Massachusetts Paid Sick Leave Act

July 1, 2015 at 10:26 am | Posted in State Laws | Leave a comment
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Yesterday, Maura Healy, the Massachusetts Attorney General announced that her office will be “holding another round of information sessions to make sure that all businesses have the support they need to successfully implement the law.”

 

Paid Sick Leave Webinars have been scheduled for July 7 at 10 a.m., July 14 at 2 p.m., July 16 at 10 a.m., July 21 at 2 p.m. and July 23 at 10 a.m. and can be accessed by logging on to www.mass.gov/ago/earnedsicktime<http://www.mass.gov/ago/earnedsicktime>.

 

Web-based information sessions have been scheduled for July 7 at 10 a.m., July 14 at 2 p.m., July 16 at 10 a.m., July 21 at 2 p.m. and July 23 at 10 a.m.. RSVP information will be posted on www.mass.gov/ago/earnedsicktime<http://www.mass.gov/ago/earnedsicktime>.

 

The Fair Labor Division and Community Engagement Division of the AG’s Office will be responsible for the second round of information sessions, many of which will be coordinated with local chambers of commerce. A more detailed list of the upcoming outreach events will be made available in the coming days and posted on the AG’s website.<http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/labor-laws-and-public-construction/earned-sick-time/>

 

The final Paid Sick Leave regulations can be found at this link: <http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/labor-laws-and-public-construction/earned-sick-time/>. The regulations include clarifications and adjustments to provisions regarding the accrual, use and payment of Earned Sick Time, employer size, notice requirements, and rules for requiring medical documentation. The final regulations also include clarifications on when employees can make up time instead of using it and how employers with existing leave policies can keep their own plans while complying with the law.

 

Massachusetts Amends State Maternity Leave Act to Extend Leave to Males

January 15, 2015 at 9:00 am | Posted in MMLA, Regulations, State Laws | Leave a comment
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In his last week of office, Governor Patrick signed a bill into law that amends the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA) by expanding parental leave in Massachusetts for both female and male employees . Currently the MMLA only permits female employees with eight weeks of job-protected maternity leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Males will be able to receive eight weeks of job protected maternity leave as well. The effective date for the change is April 7, 2015.

This change will require attention by Massachusetts employers with fewer than 50 employees who are not subject to FMLA.

Although the effective date is April 7, 2015, as a practical matter, Massachusetts employers with fewer than 50 employees should appreciate that there is federal discriminatory risk under the EEOC if they do not grant maternity leave to males now. To that end, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination has cautioned employers that:

The MMLA, by its terms, provides eight weeks of maternity leave to female employees only. An employer, who complies with the MMLA by providing eight weeks of maternity leave to female employees only, does not violate a male employee’s right under Chapter 151B to be free from sex discrimination. However, an employer who provides leave to female employees only, and not to male employees, may violate the federal prohibitions against sex discrimination even though the employer has acted in compliance with the MMLA.

 

Massachusetts Application Process for 2014 Wellness Tax Credit Is Delayed

January 31, 2014 at 11:59 am | Posted in Compliance, Department of Public Health, DPH, Health Care, State Laws | Leave a comment
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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has announced that (a) the application a wellness tax credit for tax year 2013 is closed; and (b) the deadline for the wellness tax credit in 2014 will be December 31, 2014.  The state’s application system, however, is currently under revision and will be online again in the Spring.

Minnesota Recognizes Same Sex Marriage

May 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Medical, Same Sex Marriage, State Laws | Leave a comment
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This week Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed legislation that recognizes same sex marriage. Minnesota now joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington as well as the District of Columbia in recognizing marriage equality. An excellent summary of the Minnesota legislation and ramifications for employee benefit plans in Minnesota can be found in the attached link to an ALERT issued by the Minnesota-based law firm Dorsey & Whitney.

http://www.dorsey.com/eu_bc_mn_same_sex_marriage/

Much Work Remains on Finalizing 2013 Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit: Hearings to be Held in February

January 24, 2013 at 10:15 am | Posted in Department of Public Health, Employment Law, Health and Human Services, Health Care, Regulations, State Laws, Wellness | Leave a comment
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Below is a recent communication received from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:

The Wellness Tax Credit application that was posted on http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/wellness/health-promotion/
has been removed.  The application will not be final until the Wellness Tax Credit regulations are fully approved.

In January 2013, the Public Health Council approved emergency regulations for the Wellness Tax Credit for Massachusetts small employers.  For the emergency regulations please go to:  http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/laws-regs/dph/proposed-regulations/wellness-tax-credit-incentive.html

The next step will be to have public hearings on these regulations. Hearings are scheduled for:

    • Monday February 11, 11:00 am, Public Health Council Room, 250 Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02108
    • Thursday February 14, 1:00 pm, 23 Service Center, Northampton, MA  01060

The Department invites the public to participate in these hearings and to provide input on the regulations. Following the hearings, the Public Health Council will vote on final regulations.  After the final regulations are adopted, the Department anticipates that employers will be able to start applying for the credit.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit Application Process Likely Delayed Until April 1, 2013

January 18, 2013 at 10:42 am | Posted in Department of Public Health, DPH, Regulations, State Laws, Wellness | Leave a comment
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The Protector Group has had several communications with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) this week about the mechanics of applying for the $10,000 wellness tax credit. As we stated in an earlier ALERT, the pool of available credit is fixed on an annual basis, underscoring the need for employers to apply as soon as possible if they want to secure the best chance of application approval.

Here is what we have learned in the past couple of days:

  1. DPH has prepared a draft application and guidance, which can be found at this link:  http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/wellness/health-promotion/. DPH’s desire is that all applications will be submitted through an on-line application process that has yet to be created.
  2. The likely “kick off” date for submitting applications will be April 1, 2014, although there is an outside chance it could happen as early as March 1, 2013.
  3. Once the application process starts, DPH will accept applications through December 31, 2013 for the 2013 calendar year process.

We will keep you updated and issue a new ALERT once the wellness tax credit regulations and application process are finalized.

Supreme Court to Address Issue of Constitutionality of State and Federal Laws That Do Not Recognize Same Sex Marriage

December 10, 2012 at 10:50 am | Posted in Federal Laws, State Laws | Leave a comment
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The Supreme Court announced this past Friday afternoon that they will entertain two cases in their upcoming calendar that touch upon the issue of same sex marriage. The first concerns California Proposition 8 which was approved in 2008 is a state-wide voter approved referendum that amended the sate constitution to expressly prevent same sex  couples from marrying. A federal district court in San Francisco and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have found that Proposition 8 illegally discriminates between same sex couples and opposite sex couples.

The second issue concerns the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) which precludes same sex couples from obtaining certain federal rights and benefits. Two federal appeal courts, including the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals which embraces Massachusetts, have found that DOMA unlawfully discriminates against same sex couples. A classic example of DOMA’s application is the issue of an employer calculating additional or “imputed income” for federal tax purposes for an employee if the employer extends health insurance to employees and their same sex couples.

A briefing schedule has yet to be announced but it is anticipated that oral argument will likely be in the early summer of 2013.

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