April 8, 2022

Outdoor Dining & Drinks-to-go Extended to April 2023

Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed into law a $1.67 billion supplemental budget bill that included funding for additional COVID-19 response efforts and other mid-year spending needs.  The law also extends the pandemic related restaurant policies that allow for outdoor dining and alcohol drinks-to-go for an additional year, through April 1, 2023.

Boston Blooms Block Party

Mayor Michelle Wu is excited to invite you to the "Boston Blooms Block Party" on Wednesday, April 13th which will be an all day event stretching from South Station to Downtown Crossing on Summer and Winter Streets.  The event will consist of a lunch time food truck festival, musical performances all day, plant giveaways, street art installations, and a pop-up beer garden by Democracy Brewing.   More information about the event is here.


SJC:  Automatic Treble Damages for Wage Act Violations

A decision recently handed down by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will result in a more rigid application of the state’s Wage Act and render violations more costly for employers.  In the case of Reuter v. City of Methuen, No. SJC-13121 (Mass. April 4, 2022), the Court ruled that when an employer terminates an employee and fails to pay them accrued wages on the day of discharge, as required by the Wage Act, the employer immediately becomes liable for treble the amount of the unpaid wages.  In effect, any employee paid late—regardless of the reason for the delay and even if the wages were subsequently paid by the employer—is now entitled to three times the total amount of wages in question.  This includes honest payroll errors and even good faith disputes over what an employee may be owed.  The decision overturns 20 years of guidance from the lower courts which limited damages for violations to three times the interest owed on the delayed wages when an employer pays the late wages prior to the employee filing a complaint in court.  With this ruling, the need for employers to strictly comply with the Wage Act when terminating employees has become much more important.  Employers must ensure that any and all unpaid wages are calculated correctly and paid in a timely manner on the date of discharge.  Failure to do so will expose the employer to strict liability for three times the amount of unpaid wages and the employee’s attorney’s fees.  It remains unseen whether this change will apply retroactively or to other violations of the Wage Act.    

Don't Forget to Register for Next Week's 

Virtual Massachusetts
Small Business Day 2022

Tuesday, April 12, 2022
 12:00pm - 1:30 pm

Join fellow business owners from across Massachusetts to learn about efforts to make health insurance more affordable for small businesses and their workers. This is an opportunity to learn about pending legislation that will impact your small business. Plus, expert guests will present on what is being done to lower health insurance costs in Massachusetts. Don't miss the opportunity to be part of the conversation at virtual Small Business Day 2022!


Ready to register?    click here.


Beacon Hill Update
A legislative briefing on key small business issues related to:

  • Unemployment Insurance Taxes
  • Labor Mandates 
  • Taxation
  • Energy Expenses

Healthcare Affordability and Equity
Small businesses often feel like they are forced to pay more for health insurance yet receive less. Sandra Wolitzky, Deputy Chief Health Care Division, Office of the Attorney General will share more about steps that are being taken to tackle affordability.

An Act Investing in the Future of Our Health
Hear from Lauren Peters, the Undersecretary of Health Policy, Executive Office of Health and Human Services, about Governor Baker's bill to address health challenges in Massachusetts, including reforms to the state's unique merged market.

Legislative Health Policy
Senator Cynthia Friedman, Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing will share more about proposed policies from legislative leaders to help mitigate the high cost of insurance for Massachusetts small businesses.