News Briefs

AG Healey Advises Public About 2022 Minimum Wage Increase

Attorney General Maura Healey is reminding employees and employers that the state’s minimum wage increased to $14.25 per hour beginning Jan. 1.

The AG’s Office has also made available its wage and hour poster that employers are required to display in both English and any other language that is spoken by five percent or more of the employer’s workforce and for which a translated notice in that language is available from the AG’s Office. The poster is available in seven languages and in formats that employers, workers, members of the public, and organizations can easily access, free of charge.

“Our Fair Labor Division remains committed to protecting the rights of workers and ensuring they are being paid the wages they are legally entitled to, especially as we continue to work our way through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said AG Healey. “We are issuing this notice and providing multilingual resources so that employees and employers are aware of the upcoming minimum wage increase in Massachusetts and worker rights under our wage and hour laws.”

In June 2018, Massachusetts enacted a law that set the minimum wage to increase each year until it reaches $15.00 in 2023. Tipped employees will also get a raise on Jan.1, 2022, and must be paid a minimum of $6.15 per hour provided that their tips bring them up to at least $14.25 per hour. If the total hourly rate for the employee including tips does not equal $14.25 at the end of the shift, the employer must make up the difference.

Free copies of the AG’s Wage and Hour poster are available in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Khmer, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese on the AG’s Fair Labor Division website to download and print. To request a paper copy, please visit www.mass.gov/ago/fldposter or call (617) 727-3465.

The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division enforces laws that protect workers, including minimum wage, timely payment of wages, overtime, earned sick time, child labor, Sunday and holiday premium pay, and the public construction bid and prevailing wage laws. During the Fiscal Year 2021, the Division assessed more than $8.1 million in restitution and penalties against employers on behalf of working people in Massachusetts.

Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in the workplace can file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/fld, or call the office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465.

Pressley Tests Positive for COVID-19 

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement after receiving a positive COVID-19 test result.

“After experiencing COVID-like symptoms, this morning I received a positive, breakthrough COVID-19 test result. Thankfully, my symptoms are relatively mild, and I am grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted. I am currently isolating and following all health protocols in order to mitigate further spread and keep my loved ones and community safe.

“Vaccines save lives. With this unprecedented pandemic continuing to rage, I am deeply grateful for the scientists, researchers, and frontline healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly to develop vaccines that are safe and effective, and ensure that our communities are protected. I encourage everyone to do their part by getting vaccinated, boosted and masking up. I wish everyone a safe and happy new year and look forward to continuing to fight for the robust relief our communities in the Massachusetts 7th need and deserve.”

Trial Court Announces Changes to Court Operations

 In response to the current situation in the Commonwealth with respect to COVID-19, the Trial Court today issued an order that outlines changes to court operations. Massachusetts trial courts will remain physically open to the public to conduct business and will operate in accordance with protocols that enhance the health and safety of court users and personnel. 

The order and related operational guidance issued to the Trial Court today include the following:

• Remote court operations shall be used wherever possible. Courts may continue to hold in-person proceedings in matters where a virtual proceeding is not practicable or would be inconsistent with the protection of constitutional rights.

• Trial Court departments shall reduce the number of staff working in person to no more than 50% of the total number of staff at a time and should separate their staff into not less than two teams that will alternate their time working in-person and remotely as deemed necessary by the department head. Security, Facilities and ELMO shall be exempt from the 50% reduction based upon job function.

The Trial Court also issued additional health screening protocols and updated information on masking in courthouses. Beginning on Monday, January 3, 2022, the Trial Court will re-introduce the use of screening questions to determine if anyone entering a courthouse, including court staff and the public, has a temperature, is feeling unwell, or has received a positive COVID-19 test, has been exposed to COVID-19, or has symptoms.

The Trial Court mask requirement will remain in effect. Employees, court users and other individuals who work in or visit a courthouse must wear masks that completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snuggly against the sides of the face with no gaps. The use of gaiters, bandanas, or face shields will not be allowed as a substitution for a mask. Court Officers will enforce the requirement to properly wear a mask for court visitors. The Trial Court will provide a mask to those who do not have an acceptable mask when entering a courthouse once the Trial Court Security Department has a sufficient quantity for distribution.

Supreme Judicial Court Issues New Order Pausing

In response to the current situation in the Commonwealth with respect to COVID-19, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) today issued an order pausing all jury trials in Massachusetts state courthouses until January 31, 2022. All courts otherwise will remain open for in-person business, with a continued emphasis on conducting matters remotely whenever possible.

Today’s order partially amends the existing order regarding court operations during the pandemic, which was issued by the SJC on July 1, 2021 and became effective July 12, 2021. 

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