The EM NARI Government Affairs Committee works to be sure our members are aware of laws that affect small businesses. Enjoy this quick overview of some laws and regulations that might be impacting YOU!
1.) New Massachusetts Minimum Wage Law
The Massachusetts minimum wage increased to 11.00 per hour 1/1/2017. The previous minimum wage in the state was 8.00 per hour, dating back to a 2014 law.
2.) Massachusetts companies that collect data such as credit card data for billing or data for employee personal records must create and maintain a “WISP” or “Written Information Security Program” for their company. Please see the state of MA guide below.
To whom does this regulation apply? The regulation applies to those engaged in commerce. More specifically, the regulation applies to those who collect and retain personal information in connection with the provision of goods and services or for the purposes of employment.
OBJECTIVE: ‘Our objective, in the development and implementation of this comprehensive written information security program (“WISP”), is to create effective administrative, technical and physical safeguards for the protection of personal information of residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to comply with obligations under 201 CMR 17.00. The WISP sets forth our procedure for evaluating our electronic and physical methods of accessing, collecting, storing, using, transmitting, and protecting personal information of residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For purposes of this WISP, “personal information” means a Massachusetts resident's first name and last name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of the following data elements that relate to such resident: (a) Social Security number; (b) driver's license number or state-issued identification card number; or (c) financial account number, or credit or debit card number, with or without any required security code, access code, personal identification number or password, that would permit access to a resident’s financial account; provided, however, that “personal information” shall not include information that is lawfully obtained from publicly available information, or from federal, state or local government records lawfully made available to the general public.”
3.) Massachusetts employers must now track earned sick time for their employees. Please see the State of MA published FAQ’s below.
Subsection A: Introduction Q: “When do employers have to start complying with the law? A: All employers must begin complying with the Earned Sick Time Law on July 1, 2015. Some employers who already offer paid sick leave or paid time off can keep those policies in place until December 31, 2015, provided they meet the requirements of the Attorney General’s safe harbor provision (section 33.03 of the regulations). Q. What does the Earned Sick Time Law do? A. The law entitles Massachusetts employees to earn up to 40 hours per year of sick leave to address certain personal and family needs. The number of hours to which an employee is entitled is related to the number of hours worked. An employee would be entitled to 40 hours of sick leave per year if the employee worked enough hours to earn 40 hours of earned sick time. All employers must provide earned sick time, but only employers of 11 or more employees must provide earned sick time that is paid. Smaller employers must also provide earned sick time, but it may be unpaid. Q: Where can I find more information about the law? A: The Attorney General’s website has more information about the law and regulations: www.mass.gov/ago/earnedsicktime
4.) Massachusetts companies must carry workers’ compensation insurance. A common misconception by employers is that they may exempt themselves from workers’ compensation just by stating they wish to be exempt. Owners of companies may in some instances exempt themselves and/or other executives from the workers compensation requirement in Massachusetts by filing the appropriate paperwork with the state of Massachusetts and applying for exemption.
EM NARI is fortunate to have several insurance agents/brokers as members. Be sure to check with a professional to be sure you are appropriately covered.
Member, EM NARI Government Affairs Committee