Massachusetts Enacts Generous Paid Family Leave Program

June 22, 2018

To avoid a slew of November ballot proposals, Massachusetts legislators approved a business-negotiated compromise bill on paid leave, the minimum wage, and a reduction in the sales tax.

Massachusetts will have the most generous paid family leave program in the nation, with all workers being given up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a sick family member or new child and up to 20 weeks of paid leave for their own medical needs.

The paid leave program will be funded by a 0.63 percent payroll tax split between employees and employers.  Employees will see a deduction in their paychecks starting in 2019, with the leave benefits beginning in 2021. 

The state's minimum wage will increase from $11 to $15 per hour over the next five years. 

Gone will be time-and-a-half pay for retail workers on Sundays and holidays.

Governor Charlie Baker (R) is expected to sign the bill, which he called a "grand bargain."  The measure was pushed through after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court threw out a proposed ballot initiative that would have imposed a 4 percent surtax on any portion of an individual's income above $1 million, accelerating negotiations to reach a compromise that would remove the impetus for other ballot questions that were less favorable to employers and the state.