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Massachusetts Equal Pay Act

 

The Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) was signed by Governor Charlie Baker on August 1, 2016 and goes into effect on July 1, 2018.  This Act applies to every employee with a primary place of work in Massachusetts, even if the employee has a telecommuting arrangement and does not physically spend the telecommuting hours in Massachusetts.  The Act applies to comparable work performed, regardless of the employee’s title.

The Act states that “No employer shall discriminate in any way on the basis of gender in the payment of wages, or pay any person in its employ a salary or wage rate less than the rates paid to its employees of a different gender for comparable work.”  In order to eliminate any past disparities, employers may not seek wage history on prospective employees.  Employers may also not prohibit employees from disclosing or discussing their wages.

Employers may be liable for twice the amount of unpaid wages, for a period of up to three years, owed to an affected employee, plus reasonable attorney fees.  MEPA provides a defense against claims for any employer who has conducted a good faith, reasonable self-examination of its pay practices within three years, and before an action is filed against it.  This self-examination should be documented, and must have included the employee and job at issue.  It should be constantly updated as new employees are added.  There are allowable differences in pay (seniority, merit, quantity and quality of production, geographic location, education and training, and travel) that should be documented as part of the self-examination.

More information can be found at https://www.mass.gov/massachusetts-equal-pay-law or contact us at KNS with any questions.

 

Sandy Caterine, CPA, MST, is a Senior Tax Manager at Katz, Nannis + Solomon, P.C. If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our tax professionals, please contact our office at 781-453-8700.

 
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Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this e-newsletter are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
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