(BOSTON) – Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives this session to pass An Act relative to minimum wage, paid family medical leave and the sales tax holiday.  The new law raises the minimum wage, creates a framework for paid family and medical leave for most workers, and establishes a permanent sales tax holiday.  Referred to as the “Grand Bargain”, the new law reflects significant collaboration and compromise by the key economic stakeholders to achieve the shared goal of economic prosperity and to support our local economic centers.

“Raising the minimum wage and establish paid family medical leave are two key decisions that will lift up our hardworking local families and help us retain good workers for our local businesses,” said Representative Meschino.  “At the same time, the legislation balances the concerns of employers, particularly the small businesses that are the core of our local town economies.”

Effective January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase to $12/hour, and will then continue to increase in $0.75 increments each year until it reaches $15/hour in 2023. The minimum wage for tipped employees will also increase, rising $0.60 each year until it reaches $6.75 in 2023. Per the legislation, tipped workers will also have their wages brought up to the general minimum wage after each shift, rather than at the end of each pay period, to ensure that they make at least minimum wage during every shift.

Per the law, people will be able to take paid, job-protected leave to:

  • Receive treatment for a serious medical condition
  • Bond with a newborn or newly adopted child
  • Care for a family member with a serious medical condition
  • Care for a family member injured while serving in the armed forces
  • Handle matters arising from a family member’s active duty service in the armed forces or call for deployment

Family, medical, and both aggregate and military family leave will extend to 12, 20, and 26 weeks, respectively.  Individuals on leave will receive 80% of their wage up to 50% of the state average weekly wage, then 50% of their wages past the state average weekly wage, up to the weekly benefit cap of $850. Family, medical, and military family leave will all take effect January 1, 2021.