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Private, nonprofit and public companies alike rely on Rebecca’s sound counsel when designing their executive compensation, ERISA and other high-visibility benefit programs to maximize value and minimize risk.

Q. Are there any COVID-related tax incentives that could benefit employers and employees?

A. Employers and employees alike continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many employers have reduced revenues and need to conserve resources. Many employees have been furloughed or permanently laid off and may need to prematurely access vested retirement benefits to make ends meet. Other employees need leave from work due to their own or a family member’s COVID-related illnesses. COVID-related tax incentives fall into two broad categories: incentives that advantage employers and incentives that advantage employees. Our Firm’s prior alert, Revised Summary of CARES Act and FFCRA Tax Credit and Payroll Tax Relief, provides an overview of the tax advantaged programs that are available to employers. These generally advantage the employer by providing a credit to the employer’s payroll taxes or by providing a low interest loan to the employer. There are also programs that an employer can implement that can save the employer money in the short- and long-term. In addition, there are programs that ease an employee’s access to amounts the employee has accrued under an employer’s tax qualified retirement program, and others that permit employers to provide employees with certain special benefits during these difficult times. Employees can even provide assistance to others impacted by COVID-19 through leave sharing/donation programs. Each program is outlined below.
Continue Reading PROVIDING COVID-19 FINANCIAL RELIEF: How to Free Up Access to Employer Assets and/or Ease Employee Access to Vested Benefits

Q.  Are there any new laws in Massachusetts that my company should be aware of?

A.  Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently signed a bill that will serve as a turning point for working families. Referred to as the “Grand Bargain,” the bill represents a compromise among legislators, labor, community and business groups. The four main components of the bill will significantly impact all Massachusetts employers with at least one employee over the next five years.
Continue Reading MASSACHUSETTS IS ON THE RISE! Increases in the Minimum Wage and Establishment of a Paid Family and Medical Leave Program Strengthen Massachusetts’ Competitive Economic Environment

Q.  Are there any Equal Pay Acts that apply specifically to employers in Massachusetts and New Jersey?

A.  On July 1, 2018, an updated equal pay law becomes effective in Massachusetts, referred to as “MEPA” (Massachusetts Equal Pay Act). MEPA covers nearly all Massachusetts employers, irrespective of size, and most employees, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, per-diem, and temporary employees. Employees who telecommute to a primary place of work in Massachusetts also are covered.
Continue Reading Got Employees in Massachusetts and New Jersey? What You Need to Know as MA and NJ Employers are Mandated to Break the Glass Ceiling

Q. I have employees in Massachusetts.  Do I need to pay for accrued sick leave upon termination?

A.  In a recent opinion, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court followed the lead of most other jurisdictions in finding that sick pay does not constitute wages under the Massachusetts Payment of Wages Law.  Unlike accrued and unused vacation, which is considered to be wages and must be paid at termination, Massachusetts employers are not required by statute to pay out accrued but unused sick pay to employees upon termination of employment.
Continue Reading A Win for MA Employers, Sick Pay Does Not Constitute Wages