For many months now, negotiators have been working to negotiate a legislative alternative to three ballot questions pending for November.
- Increased minimum wage
- Paid family and medical leave
- Sales tax reductions
Agreement was reached last night and we voted on it today. The final package was a compromise that was perceived as fair and necessary by most legislators. It was approved by strong margins in both the House and the Senate. I was pleased to vote for it.
The major highlights are as follows:
- No sales tax rate reduction, instead an annual sales tax holiday weekend each August.
- Minimum wage stepped up annually, rising from current $11 to $15 in 2023.
- Paid family and medical leave program (going beyond the unpaid family leave and limited earned sick time currently available)
Regarding paid family and medical leave, it is important to understand that it looks like the unemployment insurance program. Premiums of 0.63% of payroll will be paid to a new state fund for the purpose. As for UI, there are limits on length of leave and amount of wage replacement to keep the program affordable.
Senator Lewis, who was the lead negotiator for the Senate, prepared this slide deck which I share here with permission. It offers background and additional detail. The actual final legislation appears here.
Update, June 28
Governor Baker signed this legislation today.