Massachusetts’ New Laws You Need to Know About in 2022
A new year is fast approaching and that means new laws are going to be on the books. On January 1, 2022 several new Massachusetts laws are going into effect and they may affect you.
From a minimum wage increase to a potential egg shortage, there's a lot on the plate of the Bay State in the coming year.
Here are the new Massachusetts laws that you should be aware of heading into 2022:
Massachusetts Minimum Wage Increase
Probably the most anticipated new law for the Bay State is the raise in the minimum wage from $13.50 to $14.25. This 75-cent spike in pay is actually part of a bill passed back in 2018 that is slowly but surely taking the state's minimum wage up to $15.00 by 2023. In 2022, tipped workers will also see a pay raise; their $5.55 per hour will jump to $6.15 this year.
Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits in Massachusetts
PFML benefits are increasing in 2022 as well. The current $850 maximum weekly benefit is raising to a $1,084.31 maximum weekly benefit soon, while at the same time employer contribution rates are decreasing. For businesses with over 25 covered individuals, the PFML contribution will be 68 percent of eligible employee wages; less than 25 covered individuals, it's 34 percent.
Egg Industry Standards in Massachusetts
A law passed in 2016 that was to go into effect on January 1, 2022 was altered at the last minute by Gov. Charlie Baker. This altered bill will now be the standards required of chicken farmers for the new year and beyond.
Originally, the animal welfare bill was passed to prohibit farmers from cruelly confining hens and would ban the sale of any product from animals held in violation of the law. This meant eggs or meat from chickens confined to cages or coops that prevented them laying down, turning around or fully extending their legs could not legally be sold, and farmers had to provide a minimum of 1.5 feet of floor space per hen on their property.
The last-minute bill changed the minimum a bit and now calls for one foot of floor space per hen if they are housed in "multi-tiered aviaries, partially-slatted cage-free housing systems or any other cage-free housing system that provides hens with unfettered access to vertical space."
Baker said the change is aimed at preventing egg shortages in 2022, but animal activists were not too happy with the edit.
COVID-19 Bills Set to Expire
Several more bills that were passed in the last year pertaining to COVID-19 are set to expire on April 1, 2022. Temporary emergency paid sick leave and remote town meetings may no longer be laws on the books by the spring, though current COVID surges could change those laws again in the months ahead.