MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE ANNOUNCES COMPREHENSIVE PROPOSAL ON SALES TAX HOLIDAY, MINIMUM WAGE, AND FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2018
Contact: Rep. Natalie Higgins, 978-602-3772, Natalie.Higgins@mahouse.gov
Massachusetts Legislature Announces Comprehensive Proposal on Sales Tax Holiday, Minimum Wage, and Family and Medical Leave
BOSTON - The Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts State Senate announced today a legislative proposal to raise the minimum wage; create a framework for paid family and medical leave for most workers; phase out time-and-a-half pay on Sundays; and establish a permanent sales tax holiday.
“Too many working families in Leominster and across the state are struggling to make ends meet,” said Representative Natalie Higgins (D-Leominster). “This legislation is an important first step in making sure our communities thrive, with a $15 minimum wage, paid family medical leave, and preventing the cuts of $1.25B to the state budget.”
The legislation is based on months of negotiations with stakeholders sponsoring proposed ballot questions for the November 2018 election. It is scheduled to come to the House and Senate floors on Wednesday.
“This compromise strikes the right balance of empowering employees, supporting our hardworking residents and ensuring that businesses can continue to provide good, steady jobs,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I sincerely thank the stakeholders who came to the table and the legislators who brokered this compromise.”
Among other initiatives, this legislative proposal does the following:
· Creates a permanent sales tax holiday, beginning in 2019;
· Increases the minimum wage to $15.00 over the next five years;
· Increases the tip wage to $6.75 over the next five years;
· Phases out premium pay on Sundays and holidays over the next five years;
· Establishes a Department of Family and Medical Leave within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development;
· Creates a framework for family leave of 12 weeks; family leave for the care of a service member of 26 weeks; and medical leave for up to 20 weeks; and
· Exempts small businesses from financial contribution to the paid family and medical leave fund.
The proposal leaves the sales tax unchanged, and does not impose a teen sub-minimum wage.
“I am pleased to put forward this bill which empowers workers, recognizes the needs of business owners, and ensures that Massachusetts residents will no longer have to choose between caring for a sick relative or losing their job,” said Representative Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose). “This bill is the result of months of negotiations and demonstrates that regardless of what happens in Washington, here in Massachusetts we focus on cooperation and compromise.”
“This deal represents a series of compromises made in the best interest of the Commonwealth. By reaching a thoughtful balance, this package will protect Massachusetts workers while promoting a competitive environment for our local businesses,” said Representative Joseph F. Wagner (D-Chicopee), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.