As set forth by legislation passed in 2018, the minimum wage in Massachusetts will increase to $14.25 per hour on January 1, 2022. This amounts to a 75-cent jump from the current minimum wage of $13.50 per hour and is the second to last scheduled increase under current law. The minimum wage will increase again on January 1, 2023 to $15.00 per hour. As a reminder, employers must display this “Wage & Hour Laws” poster published by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General in a prominent location for all employees to see, which notifies employees of the minimum wage and summarizes other Massachusetts wage and hour laws.
Under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151 § 1, “any employer” that employs an individual in Massachusetts must pay that individual at least the minimum wage unless an exemption applies. Here are some of these exemptions:
- Workers being rehabilitated or trained under rehabilitation or training programs in charitable, educational or religious institutions;
- Seasonal camp counselors and counselor trainees;
- Members of religious orders;
- Outside sales workers who regularly sell a product or products away from their employer's place of business and who do not make daily reports or visits to the office or plant of their employer;
- Agricultural and farm workers (they must be paid at least $8.00 per hour though); and
- Tipped employees.
Changes to the PFML Contribution and Benefit Rates
As we previously discussed, the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave law (“PFML”) entitles covered workers to job-protected paid family and medical leave for specified reasons. Unless an employer participates in an approved private plan, benefits under the PFML are paid for by contributions from employers to the Department of Family and Medical Leave Trust Fund, which are funded in whole or in part by deductions from workers’ wages. The following changes to the PFML’s rates of contribution and maximum weekly benefits will take effect January 1, 2022:
- Employers with 25 or more covered workers will be required to contribute .68% of wages to the Trust Fund, which is a decrease from the current rate of .75% of wages. These employers will remain responsible for a minimum of 60% of the medical leave contribution (.336% of wages) but are still permitted to deduct from wages up to 40% of the medical leave contribution (.224% of wages) and up to 100% of the family leave contribution (.12% of wages).
- Employers with fewer than 25 covered workers will be required to contribute .344% of wages to the Trust Fund, which is a slight decrease from the current rate of .378% of wages. These employers are not required to make any additional contribution on behalf of covered workers and may choose to cover some portion of the workers’ contribution amount.
- Maximum weekly benefits available to covered workers are increasing from $850 to $1,084.31.
- The new 2022 PFML poster that employers must display in a conspicuous location can be found here.
- The contribution rate change notice that employers with 25 or more covered workers must complete and provide can be found here.
- The notice that employers with fewer than 25 covered workers must complete and provide can be found here.
The Employment & Labor Practice Group at Partridge Snow & Hahn is available to answer questions about the Massachusetts minimum wage requirements and the PFML.