While Massachusetts is uniquely employee-friendly when it comes to final wage payments, its Supreme Judicial Court just narrowed the margin of error allowed for employers to nil. In a ruling handed down on Monday, April 4, the SJC ruled that in order to comply with the Massachusetts Wage Act, employers must pay terminated employees in full on the date of termination – and that employees are automatically entitled to treble damages (three times the late
SUPREME COURT RULES: HOLD YOUR HORSES BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OSHA RULE BLOCKED BY SUPREME COURT (Jan. 2022)
Since November, employers have been training for what is shaping up to be a race to nowhere by scrambling to comply with the White House’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) regarding vaccine requirements in the workplace. The ETS required all private sector businesses with more than 100 employees to either ensure their employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have unvaccinated workers test weekly for COVID-19 and mask while at work. The ETS, had
Just when employers had nestled into a cozy pre-holiday holding pattern with COVID-19 vaccine protocols, the courts have blown open the doors with a blizzard of employer expectations effective immediately. In a startling reversal of expectations, last Friday the Sixth Circuit overturned a stay blocking the OSHA “vaccine or test” Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”).
Employers can hardly be blamed for experiencing policy-making whiplash. The ETS was issued on November 4, then enforcement
Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate Hits a Wall
A trade group doing business nationwide joined with contractors from multiple states to challenge President Biden’s requirement that all employees working pursuant to federal contracts in any state or territory of the United States be vaccinated. United States District Court Judge R. Stan Baker issued an injunction preventing enforcement of the mandate. While the issuing court sits in the Southern District of Georgia, and the parties to the lawsuit
FINALLY! OSHA ISSUES EMERGENCY STANDARD FOR LARGE EMPLOYERS: THE CHOICE? MANDATORY VACCINES OR TESTING AND MASKS (NOV. 2021)
Last week, on November 4th, OSHA finally issued the emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) (promised by President Biden in September) on COVID-19 vaccines for employers with 100 or more employees. The ETS requires all covered employers to either ensure their employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly for COVID-19 and wearing a mask. It is believed the ETS will affect over 80 million private sector workers.
Employers now have to make a choice.
Last week, President Biden laid out his new plan to ensure higher rates of vaccination against COVID-19. Of great interest to larger, private employers is a mandate that large businesses (those with over 100 workers) require that their employees are either 1) vaccinated against COVID-19 or 2) tested weekly for the virus. In addition, these employers are required to give employees who choose to receive the vaccine paid time off to receive the vaccine
On Friday, Governor Baker signed legislation to enact COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave for all Massachusetts employers. Under the new law, employers must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave for all employees from now through September 30, 2021. Paid leave can be capped at $850 in paid leave (including benefits) per employee, and the Commonwealth will reimburse employers for this sick leave.
Amount of Leave
Employers must provide up to 40 hours of COVID-19
On Monday, May 17, Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts is lifting most COVID restrictions, including capacity restrictions and the mask mandate in most indoor settings, on May 29. This includes the sector-specific protocols under which Massachusetts businesses have been operating since the reopening began last May.
Governor Baker made it clear that private businesses are free to adopt their own COVID safety protocols if they choose, but they will not be required to do so.
This spring, we have seen both federal and state legislation expanding COVID-related leave laws. In this newsletter, we highlight some of the most important changes.
ARPA EXTENDS COVID EMERGENCY PAID SICK & FAMILY LEAVE
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 extended FFCRA tax credits for employers with fewer than 500 employees who voluntarily provide COVID-related sick leave or family leave. The tax credits were set to expire on March 31, 2021 and will now
Last Tuesday, Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts would be rolling back its reopening effective Sunday, December 13. For most businesses, the changes are relatively minor. These changes include:
- Reduced capacity limits for most businesses, including offices, from 50% to 40%
- Office workers must wear masks at all times, unless they are in their own workspace and alone
- Workplaces should close communal spaces such as breakrooms, kitchens, and conference rooms to the extent possible.