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IMMEDIATE UPDATE: Massachusetts Extends Deadlines for Paid Family Medical Leave Again!

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June 13, 2019

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Governor Baker recently signed an emergency bill changing key deadlines for the Paid Family Medical Leave law (PFML). Specifically, employers were required to start withholding employee contributions for PFML on July 1st, and submit first quarter contributions by October 31st. Now, with a three-month extension enacted, employers must begin payroll withholdings as of October 1, 2019, and contributions will be due January 31, 2020. This change was to allow businesses sufficient time to implement the PFML program.

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June Updates

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This Short List addresses the following topics:
  1. U.S. Supreme Court: Title VII Claims to the EEOC are Merely Procedural and Not Jurisdictional to Courts
  2. U.S. Supreme Court: State Wage and Hour Rules Don’t Apply to Workers on the Outer Continental Shelf
  3. DOL Issued Updated Poster for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors
  4. California: July 1st REMINDERS for Employers
  5. Emeryville, CA: July 1st Minimum Wage Increase Paused for Small Independent Restaurants
  6. Colorado: Wage Garnishment Reform on the Horizon
  7. Connecticut: Minimum Wage Increasing to $15 an Hour
  8. Minneapolis, MN: Sick and Safe Time Rule Is Still Up in the Air
  9. Kansas City, MO: Bans Pre-Employment Salary History Inquiries
  10. Nevada: Mandatory Safety Training Expanded to Trade Show and Convention Workers
  11. New Jersey: Required Workplace Postings Receive an Update
  12. Texas: Dallas and San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Set to Go into Effect August 1st

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Massachusetts: Paid Family and Medical Leave Deadlines Extended and Notices Issued

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May 1, 2019

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In July 2018, Massachusetts signed H. 4640 – also called the “grand bargain” – into law, which included implementation of a state-mandated paid family and medical leave program starting January 1, 2021.  To prepare for rollout of this program, employers were required to provide their workforce notice of the new leave by May 31, 2019.  The Massachusetts Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) recently extended two pending deadlines: (1) written notice to employees of their rights under the PFML must be provided by June 30, 2019; and (2) companies can file an application for a private plan exemption up to September 20, 2019. The PFML program is funded through an employee payroll tax with a supplementary amount paid by employers.

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April Updates

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This Short List addresses the following topics:
  1. OFCCP: Corporate Scheduling Announcement List Published for Federal Contractors
  2. VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark Lowered for Affirmative Action Plans
  3. Fifth Circuit: Independent Contractor Classification in Oilfield Industry Re-visited
  4. California: NEW Posting Requirement as of April 1, 2019
  5. California: Required Employee Pamphlets Updated
  6. California: Employers Are Liable for Wage and Hour Claims Without Accurate Time Records
  7. Reminder: San Francisco 2018 Employer Reporting Deadline is April 30, 2019
  8. San Francisco, CA: Minimum Wage to Increase July 1, 2019
  9. Massachusetts: State and Federal Overtime Exemptions are Not Identical
  10. Michigan: Paid Sick Leave FAQ’s and Poster Released
  11. New York: 24-Hour Home Care Pay Decided by Court of Appeal
  12. Oklahoma: Medical Marijuana Accommodations Clarified
  13. South Carolina: Labs Liable to Workers for False Positive Drug Tests

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Massachusetts: Denying Lateral Transfer May be Considered Discriminatory

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January 29, 2019

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In Yee v. Massachusetts State Police, the state Supreme Judicial Court stated that by not granting Yee, a self-identified Chinese Asian-American, a lateral transfer from one Troop to another in the State Police, while granting the same transfer to Caucasian employees, his employer caused an “adverse employment action.” Specifically, Yee claimed the transfer would have afforded him additional opportunities for compensation for working overtime and on details. The Court stated that an adverse employment action is not limited to denial of a promotion, but includes a material difference in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

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Massachusetts: “Back Pay” Damages under the WARN Act are not Wages under State Law

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December 28, 2018

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In Calixto v. Coughlin, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court stated that back pay under the federal WARN Act is not considered wages under the state Wage Act. There, employees claimed a violation of the WARN Act for failure to give advance notice of a company closure. The employer did not defend the claims and the employees were awarded almost two million dollars in “back pay.” However, the employer was insolvent and unable to pay. The employees subsequently filed a claim under the Wage Act for failure to pay the “back pay” award. Ultimately, the Court interpreted the state Wage Act to only apply to “wages earned” for work actually performed, resulting in the dismissal of the employees’ claims.

Action Items

  1. Review federal WARN Act requirements in advance of any furloughs, significant layoffs, or closures.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

Massachusetts: New Guidance for Calculating Wages for Tipped Employees

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All Employers of MA Tipped Employees

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January 1, 2019

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The “Grand Bargain” added a clause to the service rate statute stating that an employer shall calculate the “amount required by clause (2) at the completion of each shift worked by the employee.” The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office recently released additional guidance on what this means.

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Massachusetts: Court Provides Guidance on Choice of Law and Forum Selection Clauses in Restrictive Covenants

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All Employers with non-MA Employees

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September 7, 2018

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In Oxford Global Resources, LLC v. Hernandez, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reviewed an employee’s confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-compete agreement providing for the application of Massachusetts law, which is where the employer was headquartered, as well as a forum selection clause for Massachusetts. The employee left the employer to work for a competitor and allegedly violated the agreement. The employer filed suit for breach of the employee’s agreement in Massachusetts.

However, the employee at issue interviewed, hired, and worked only in California. Moreover, California prohibits non-compete agreements. The Court stated that choice of law provisions are only enforced in Massachusetts if they do not violate public policy. Under the circumstances, California substantive law applied over Massachusetts choice of law principles because of California’s policy favoring open competition and employee mobility. Additionally, the case was more properly heard in California because “everything relevant to [the] case happened in California,” “all relevant witnesses [were] located in California,” and the courts of California had an interest in seeing that California law was correctly applied to the dispute.

Employers who have out-of-state employees will need to be cautious about the restrictive covenants and choice of law provisions they have them sign.

Action Items

  1. Have restrictive covenants reviewed to ensure that the law governing the agreement aligns with where the employee is working.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

Massachusetts: Significant New Limitations on Noncompete Agreements

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All Employers with MA Employees

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October 1, 2018

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Governor Baker recently signed “An Act Relative to Economic Development in the Commonwealth” that significantly changes the way Massachusetts employers may use noncompete agreements. The following are key changes to be aware of.

September Updates

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This Short List addresses the following topics:
  1. The DOL Created a New Department to Support Employer Compliance
  2. OFCCP Staff Must Account for Federal Contractors’ Religious Freedoms
  3. Federal Contractor Minimum Wage Increase for 2019
  4. Sixth Circuit: FLSA Does Not Invalidate Arbitration Agreements
  5. Eighth Circuit: USERRA Still Protects Employees Who Don’t Have Guaranteed Working Hours
  6. Ninth Circuit: Employers Can Prohibit Future Employment With Their Company
  7. California: Update to EDD Workplace Posting DE 1857A
  8. Massachusetts: Railway Unemployment Insurance Act Preempts Statewide Sick Leave
  9. New Jersey: New Bill Expands Ability to Claim Unemployment Insurance Benefits
  10. New Jersey: State and Federal Authorities Pledge Stronger Enforcement Against Misclassification
  11. New York City, NY: Anti-Sexual Harassment Poster and Fact Sheet Now Available
  12. South Carolina: Pregnancy Accommodations Poster Now Available
  13. Austin, Texas: The City’s Paid Sick Leave is On Hold – For Now
  14. Seattle, WA: New Employer Obligations for Domestic Workers

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