​Hard-won Benefits Start January 1

January 14, 2021

Thanks to our partners in the Raise Up Massachusetts Coalition, two critical benefits for working people in Massachusetts started on January 1.
First, the minimum wage has increased to $13.50.  This is part of a gradual increase that will bring the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by January 2023. For more information on the State’s minimum wage laws, click here.
Second, Massachusetts workers are one step closer to the rights and benefits millions of people across the world already enjoy. Now, regardless of employer, all workers have a right to Paid Family and Family Leave (PFML) that provides up to 12 weeks of time off for workers to care for a new child or a family member who is sick or in need. PFML also grants workers 20 weeks to care for a serious personal health condition and up to 26 weeks to care for a family member who is a member of the military. The new state program does not affect any existing benefits employers offer that may be more generous and is independent of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

MassCOSH’s research has shown limited access to paid sick leave increases the probability of abusing pain medications to return to work before a work-related injury has healed, in turn increasing addiction rates and fatal drug overdoses. Other beneficiaries include low-wage and immigrant workers who rarely have access to such leave and will no longer need to pick between going to work sick or injured or going hungry or homeless. PFML will also serve as an additional tool to help control the pandemic, allowing sick workers and their caretakers to stay home rather than going to work and potentially infecting coworkers with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 
For more information PFML, visit https://www.mass.gov/get-to-know-pfml.