The new year brings new state and federal laws, along with updates to existing laws employers must become aware of to remain in compliance or face potential fines
In Massachusetts, the minimum wage and the maximum weekly benefit and income level for the state Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program are increasing in 2023 while the employer contribution rate for PFML is being reduced.
Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the minimum wage increased from $14.25 per hour to $15 and the service rate, which applies to workers who provide services to customers and who make more than $20 a month in tips, increased from $6.15 to $6.75 in Massachusetts.
Under the state PFML law, Massachusetts employees who earned at least $5,700 over the past four calendar quarters were eligible for family or medical leave in 2022. That amount increases to $6,000 in 2023. The maximum weekly benefit is increasing from $1,084.31 in 2022 to $1,129.82 in 2023. The employer contribution rate for businesses with at least 25 eligible employees is dropping from 0.68 percent in 2022 to 0.63 percent in 2023.
Being aware of changes in the law isn’t enough; employers need to notify their employees about the laws and any updates. Labor posters must be displayed in the workplace in a common area for workers. The posters contain a description of state and federal laws and a link employees can access to obtain more information.
Examples of Massachusetts laws that should be displayed concern sick time and the minimum wage, while examples of federal laws include overtime pay, job safety and health issues.
Failure to display labor posters in your business could result in fines of up to $37,000, including $189 for family leave; $14,502 for job safety and health; and $23,011 for not posting the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, which prohibits most private employers from using lie detector tests in the workplace or during pre-employment screening.
If you’re not aware of new laws, you could end up being fined if:
- A complaint is filed by a current or former employee and an agency investigates.
- An agency does an audit of your company and finds that labor posters aren’t being displayed.
You have to know the laws, you have to display the labor law posters in a place employees can find them, and you can’t leave outdated laws posted.
Other important changes in 2023 in Massachusetts are:
- Massachusetts Blue Laws Requirement Phased Out: Premium pay of time and a half for retail employees who work on Sundays and some holidays is being eliminated. Employers still will be required to pay time and a half for more than 40 hours of work per week, including Sundays and holidays.
- Millionaire’s Tax Arriving: The Fair Share Amendment creates a 4 percent tax on income over $1 million. The money raised will be spent on transportation and public education.
You also should be aware of laws in states where you have employees. Maryland, for example, passed a paid family and medical leave law in August. Contributions begin this year and employees will be able to take the leave starting in 2025. If you have employees in Maryland, you need to notify them of the law.
I recommend a labor law subscription service to my clients to help them stay on top of new laws and updates. The subscription service will send you updated information on state and federal laws and a labor poster reflecting the laws.
When I conduct audits for my clients, I walk through the company to be certain labor law posters are displayed properly. Compliance and safety are part of every audit I do.
HR consultants, employment lawyers and accountants also provide updated information to their clients. Stay up to date by signing up for their newsletters, registering to receive alerts from state and federal agencies – such as the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – and by networking. I automatically sign my clients up for my newsletter to keep them informed.
Stay on top of your craft. If you’re looking for a labor law notification service in the new year, reach out to me at Melody Beach Consulting Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can provide the service for you or recommend a subscription service.
Recognizing religion in the workplace
As families gather to mark holiday traditions this season, it’s important for employers to educate themselves about their employees to provide an inclusive culture for religion in their workplace.
Whether the religious holidays are Hanukkah, Christmas, or Three Kings Day, find ways to support your employees. The key is to understand who your employees are and what matters to them.
Find the right person for your team
Employers should always put their best foot forward when it comes to interviewing candidates for positions in their company.
Start with choosing the right Human Resource manager or recruiter to help with the process. That person’s guidance should make it possible to find and hire qualified candidates in a fair and equitable way.
50+ Job Seekers workshops
The 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group’s workshops are free and virtual on Zoom.
Upcoming January workshops are:
- Thursday, Jan. 12, 10 to 11 a.m.: Savvy Seeker Series: “The Art of Small Talk,” with Megan Vogias, director of engagement for Evlogimenos, a consulting firm committed to supporting individuals and nonprofits with community and employee engagement.
With more than two decades of experience in communication, engagement and development, Megan is a networking artist who flourishes in helping others discover comfort and confidence in the art of communication.
“The Art of Small Talk” will explore innovative ways to start conversations, create connections and navigate networking in both virtual and in-person events like a pro.
This workshop is offered by 50+ Job Seekers in Massachusetts and sponsored by Encore Boston Network and The Institute for Career Transitions.
- Tuesday, Jan. 17, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: “STARR Stories (There’s another R!)”
Interviewers often ask candidates to display their potential value to the company by asking behavioral or competency-based questions. Most candidates respond with off-the-cuff answers or a story that is too long, too detailed and unstructured.
Many job seekers have learned to use the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) method to answer those questions. But did you know there is another R that makes your story more powerful? Join us to learn the STAR concept and learn about the next R and how to use it during interviews.
- Thursday, Jan. 19, 10 to 11 a.m.: “Making Connections to Beat the Blues”
It’s winter and the holiday season is over. Even those who live with or around others can feel lonely. Dark, cold, snowy days can increase the feeling of loneliness and social isolation. This program will uncover initiatives and strategies to beat the challenges of feeling disconnected and alone.
The presenters are:
- Sandra Harris, co-chair, Massachusetts Task Force to End Loneliness and Build Community. She’s also state president of AARP Massachusetts.
- Amy Avergun, instructional designer and facilitator, and longtime EBN program facilitator.
- Miriam Rosalyn Diamond, EBN program director and expert on friendship.
This event is being offered by Encore Boston Network and co-presented by 50+ Job Seekers in Massachusetts.
Register through Encore Boston Network at https://bit.ly/3CknA3k.
- Monday, Jan. 23, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Interview Practice.
For good or bad, first impressions matter. When interviewing, you need to put your best foot forward and that takes practice.
Join us for answers to your questions about interviews and learn how to respond to a variety of questions that may be presented to you in an interview.
- Tuesday, Jan. 24, noon to 1:15 p.m.: “Discover and Activate Your Personal Purpose for Your Encore Vocation.”
A clear sense of your unique purpose, activated regularly with specific tools, can boost your confidence, help you navigate a job search and define your talents, and provide stability during life’s ups, downs and everything in between.
In this interactive session, we will help you identify your purpose, then apply it to the job search and other aspects of life, including:
- Leveraging purpose to explore and expand vocational possibilities.
- Identifying your purpose story that you can share in networking, interviews and on LinkedIn.
- Using your purpose to fuel confidence and motivation in interviews.
Anna Hall, who has developed enrichment services for aging support organizations spanning the continuum of care, will facilitate this workshop. She has led CCRC and Skilled Nursing engagement program development and deployment for Brookdale Senior Living. Anna also has served as the chief purpose officer at Connected Living, a social impact tech company dedicated to connecting older adults with community and family. She has been leading The Purpose Equation LLC since July 2021.
This event is offered by Encore Boston Network and co-presented by 50+ Job Seekers in Massachusetts. Register through Encore Boston Network at https://bit.ly/3WNl0Lw.
- Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2 to 3:30 p.m.: “An Afternoon at the Improv.”
Join us for a fun and different way of preparing for interviews and networking conversations. Improvisational theater is unplanned or unscripted, created spontaneously by the performers. In its purest form, the dialogue, action, story and characters are created collaboratively by the players as the improvisation unfolds.
We’ll start with fun and simple improv that has nothing to do with interviewing or the job search. As we progress, we’ll mix in some crazy situations and more performers.
- Tuesday, Jan. 31, 10 to 11 a.m.: Savvy Seeker Series with employer panel: “Is Part-Time Work Right for You?”
Do you have responsibilities that limit the number of hours you can work, or you need a flexible schedule? Are you retired and need extra income, haven’t reached full retirement age and need to limit your income? Or do you simply want to feel productive and engage with others?
Join us to learn about job opportunities from companies that offer remote and in-person part-time employment.
The panelists are: Josh Obeiter, executive director and owner of Seniors Helping Seniors; Sujal Kapadia, founder of Older Adult Staffing Service; and Ryan Windyka, membership director of the YMCA of Greater Springfield.
This workshop is offered by 50+ Job Seekers in Massachusetts and sponsored by Encore Boston Network.
If no registration link is provided, register for the workshops through 50+ Job Seekers of Massachusetts through your online registration/login account at https://50plusjobseekers.org/login/. If you haven’t registered, you will be asked to complete the registration form. If you have questions about the process, contact email@example.com.
The virtual doors open 15 minutes before each program starts.
My contact info
Contact me by downloading my digital business card by texting HRPRO to 21000 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.