June 21 2018

Burlington State Representative's Paid Family Leave Bill Passed by State Legislature

By: BNEWS

Burlington’s State Representative announced that a piece of legislations he spearheaded has been moved through the state legislature as part of a “grand bargain” bill that is heading to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk.

According to State Rep. Ken Gordon’s office, the Massachusetts House and Senate passed a statewide program that will provide a Paid Family and Medical Leave program to most all workers in the Commonwealth, as part of a consolidated bill that will also incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to $6.75. The bill will also create a permanent sales tax holiday each August and eliminate the requirement that employers pay their workers time and a half on Sundays and holidays.

Rep. Gordon authored much of the Paid Family Leave bill that was incorporated in the package, the release states.

“We in government like to talk about family values,” he said. “Here today, in Massachusetts, we are passing a bill that reflects our family values. The Paid Family Leave program is designed to keep families together at times of great joy, and to allow families to be together at times of great stress and great sorrow. Compare that to what we see coming out of Washington, where for the past few weeks all we’ve heard is excuses for ripping families apart. Once again Massachusetts sets the example”.

The family leave portion of the bill will provide partial wage replacement for up to 12 weeks for workers to care for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a hospitalized child, parent, spouse or other specified relative or one who is under constant medical care, the release states. It will provide for up to 20 weeks of wage replacement for a worker’s own non-workplace related injury. Lower paid workers will receive a greater wage replacement than higher paid workers.

The program calls upon employers and employees to provide a premium into an insurance plan. Employers and employees will split the premium equally, but businesses that employ fewer than 25 workers will be not be charged their share.

The bill was the result of months of negotiations between the state’s most significant business and labor interests.  Called the “Grand Bargain”, the legislation will resolve and remove four measures otherwise headed for the November ballot, including the Massachusetts Retailers’ effort to lower the state sales tax to 5 percent.

House members voted 126 to 25 in favor and the Senate passed the bill 30-8.


 

 
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