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Extra COVID Food Funds for Families Ending March 2

Extra COVID Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known as SNAP Emergency Allotments, were created during the pandemic to help individuals and families buy food. These extra COVID benefits are the difference between a household’s normal benefit amount and the maximum amount for their household size, with a minimum amount of $95 a month. The benefits have been put on EBT cards at the beginning of each month.

Recent action by the federal government (through the Congressional Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023) ends the extra COVID SNAP benefits as of February 2023. This means that Massachusetts households will receive their last extra COVID SNAP payment on March 2, 2023.

The state has launched a new website: Mass.gov/ExtraCOVIDSNAP to help residents plan for the end of these temporary federal benefits.

 

 

 

 

The Commonwealth’s retail community gathered recently at Lombardo’s, in Randolph, for the 23rd Annual RAM Awards of Excellence (RAMAEs) luncheon.  This year’s winners, nominated by their industry peers and local chambers of commerce, were recognized for their overall excellence, innovation and service within the retail industry.  Again this year, the slate of winners featured longtime industry leaders alongside newer, hidden gems of the local retail scene.

Meet this year's winners…watch the video!

                                                  
Pauline’s Gifts
Advertising and Promotion
 
Cape Abilities Farm
Community Service
 
Bay Pointe Waterfront Restaurant
Restaurant of the Year
 
Tropical Foods
Retailer of the Year
 
Rocky’s Ace Hardware
Retail Hall of Fame
 

 

 

Reminder:  Updates to Waste Bans Effective November 1

Bans expanded to mattresses, clothing & food waste (1/2 ton)

 

All members are reminded that effective November 1, the state has expanded its waste bans to include a ban on the disposal of mattresses and textiles, and has lowered the threshold for compliance with the state’s existing commercial organics/food waste ban to generators of more than ½ ton per week.  The waste bans are implemented and enforced by the MA Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP)

Beginning in October 2014, MA adopted regulations to ban the disposal of commercial organics/food waste, requiring any entity that disposed of at least one ton of organic waste per week to donate or re-purpose the useable food, or dispose of via anaerobic digestion (AD), composting or as animal feed.  The updated regulation now lowers that threshold so that it applies to entities that generate one-half (1⁄2) ton or more of organic waste for disposal per week.  The previous threshold likely exempted most restaurants, convenience stores, and small markets, who may now be impacted under the lower threshold. 

For more information, click here.


USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) have asked us to share a card skimming notice so that our members who are SNAP-authorized retailers are aware of card skimming activity.

Click here to view notice.

   Wage and Hour Law Changes for 2023

Minimum Wage Increase and the End of Retail Premium Pay

 

On January 1, 2023, the last of five annual increases to the Massachusetts minimum wage will take effect, as well as the final repeal of the retail premium pay requirement.  Members are reminded to take note of the following changes:

  • Minimum wage increase to $15.00 per hour (currently $14.25)
  • Tipped wage increase to $6.75 per hour (currently $6.15)
  • Retail Premium Pay mandate is fully eliminated. 

As indicated, the retail premium pay requirement for work performed on Sundays and certain holidays has been eliminated from the Massachusetts General Laws (Chapter 136 §6) as of the new year.  Retail employees may be compensated at their regular rate of pay for work performed on Sundays and the holidays of New Year’s Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, and Labor Day.  

Members are reminded that the Blue Law voluntary work requirement remains in effect.  All work performed on Sundays, and the aforementioned holidays, by employees of retail establishments must remain voluntary and refusal to work shall not be grounds for discrimination, dismissal, discharge reduction in hours, or any other penalty.

Keep reading article.


Members are encouraged to download RAM’s 2023 Retail Holiday Schedule for a detailed guide to these changes.
 
For additional information you may also visit:

 

 

  

 

RAMHIC Offerings for 2022  

RAMHIC continues to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to offer members access to the carrier's entire portfolio of high quality, small group health insurance plans.  

New in 2022, all members purchasing their health insurance coverage through the cooperative will also receive an expanded list of ancillary benefits, FREE of charge. 

Please see our brochure for more detail on the expanded 2022 benefit package.  Specific information regarding each benefit may be found below: 


For more information please visit the RAMHIC page of our website.