Category Archives: Legislation

Massachusetts Attorney General Releases Guidance on Equal Pay Act

The Massachusetts Attorney General (the “AG”) recently released her long-awaited guidance regarding the 2016 overhaul of the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (the “Act”), which takes effect on July 1, 2018. (For a summary of the Act’s key provisions, click here.) The Act, which, among other things, prohibits employers from paying employees of different genders differently for comparable work, has left employers with many questions as to how its provisions would be interpreted and enforced.… More

2017 Immigration Policy Roundup

This year saw significant changes to immigration policy in the United States. Here is a brief roundup of recent developments that companies should continue to monitor in 2018.

The Travel Ban
BACKGROUND

President Trump issued the third revision of his travel ban entitled “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats” on September 24,… More

Protect and Grow American Jobs Act: New H-1B Bill Targeted at Dependent Employers

On November 15, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee approved The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (H.R. 170), which primarily affects “H-1B dependent” employers. The bill revises the definition of a dependent H-1B employer to include all employers which have a workforce that is more than 20% percent H-1B employees (an improvement over the current 15% test). However, if a company qualifies as an H-1B dependent employer,… More

State and Federal Government Move to Enforce Employer Health Care Assessments

On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development issued proposed regulations to implement the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) supplemental assessment that was signed into law by Governor Baker this summer. At nearly the same time, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it would begin enforcement of the employer mandate enacted as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. Employers and human resources managers should pay close attention to these developments.… More

President Signs EO Loosening Health Care Regulations

On October 12, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) entitled “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” The much-anticipated EO directs the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to work on drafting rules and guidance to loosen regulations on insurance and to change the way in which individuals and employers purchase insurance in order to achieve three primary objectives:

  • Expand access to “Association Health Plans” (“AHPs”)
  • Expand availability of short-term limited duration insurance (“STLDI”)
  • Expand availability and permitted use of Health Reimbursement Accounts (“HRAs”)

According to the EO,… More

Massachusetts House Passes Bill to Expand Protections for Pregnant Workers

Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.3680). If the bill becomes law, it will expand employment protections for pregnant workers in Massachusetts, most significantly by requiring that Massachusetts employers provide pregnant workers with reasonable accommodations.

Massachusetts already prohibits discrimination against pregnant employees, as Massachusetts courts have recognized that pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Massachusetts’s anti-discrimination statute,… More

Massachusetts Minimum Wage Increases Effective January 1, 2017

A reminder for Massachusetts employers: effective January 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is increasing from $10.00 to $11.00 per hour.

The minimum rate for tipped service employees is also increasing, from $3.35 to $3.75 per hour.  This “service rate” only applies to workers who provide services to customers and regularly receive more than $20 in tips per month.  Additionally, their average hourly tips plus the minimum service rate must equal or exceed the $11.00 per hour minimum wage.  … More

Federal Court Blocks New Overtime Rule

On November 22, 2016, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction preventing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing its new overtime rule. The rule – which would have raised the salary threshold below which employees must be paid overtime to $47,476/year – was scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016. (The firm’s previous client alert on the rule can be found here.) As a result,… More

Massachusetts Enacts New Pay Equity Law

Decorative Scales of JusticeOn August 1, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Pay Equity Act (the “Act”) into law. The Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2018, is designed to close the wage gap between men and women. Although Massachusetts already had a pay parity law that prohibits wage discrimination, the Act provides greater clarity on what constitutes unlawful pay discrimination and imposes new rules and restrictions on employers.… More

Watch: Labor & Employment Webinar

The past year has been busy in the labor and employment law field. Foley Hoag recently presented a webinar detailing the latest legal developments.

Watch the recording:

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Topics discussed include:

  • Upcoming changes to the overtime regulations
  • The expansion of the “joint employer” doctrine
  • The increasingly aggressive EEOC
  • Legislative initiatives to change non-compete law
  • Pay equity laws
  • Current issues in immigration laws

Speakers:

Non-Compete Reform Finally May Be Coming to Massachusetts

After falling off the radar recently, it appears that non-compete reform is back on the agenda on Beacon Hill.  As reported by the Boston Globe, in a March 2, 2016 speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo voiced support for placing restrictions on non-competition agreements.  Among the measures advanced by DeLeo were: (1) limiting the duration of non-competes to 1 year;… More