Monthly Archives: April 2019

Paid Family and Medical Leave

On June 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a new comprehensive law that will require that employees in Massachusetts receive paid family and medical leave. Previously, Massachusetts employees were only afforded unpaid leave for family and medical issues, usually stemming from either the MPLA, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (formerly the MMLA, Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act) or from the Federal FMLA, Family Medical Leave Act.

The new act will allow for employees to receive a portion of their pay for up to twelve (12) weeks of paid leave to care for an ill family member or for the birth (or adoption) of a child. The act will also allow for up to twenty (20) weeks of paid leave to care for their own serious medical issues. The benefit amount will be determined based upon a percentage of the employee’s weekly income, but will not exceed $850.00 per week.

While the law has been signed into law the formalities of the new act have yet to implemented. On March 31, 2019 the first set of proposed regulations will be published which will allow for more guidance on how the new law will affect employers. On or about July 1, 2019, the Commonwealth will begin collecting a new payroll tax of 0.63% to help pay for this very generous benefit. Employees will be able to utilize this new benefit beginning January 1, 2021.

In addition to creating paid family and medical leave, the act also places a strong retaliation provision for employers who unfairly retaliate against an employee for engaging in this new program.

By |April 24th, 2019|Employment law|0 Comments|

Does a spouse have to pay for nursing home care?

 

There is a long-established principal of law that holds that spouses are jointly and severally liable for debts incurred to third-parties for “necessities” (i.e., common-law doctrine of necessaries). Essentially, under the doctrine of necessities, a spouse is equally responsible for payment of a debt incurred for the provision of life’s essentials. For example, a husband is equally responsible for a debt incurred exclusively by his wife (i.e., husband was not a party to the transaction) for groceries or housing.

The Massachusetts legislature has enacted a law codifying this common-law doctrine, Mass. Gen. Laws. ch 209, § 1 (“G.L. ch. 209”). Under G.L. ch. 209, “spouses shall be liable jointly or severally for debts incurred on account of necessaries furnished to either spouse or to a member of their family.” While the G.L. ch. 209 does not define “necessities”, Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court has stated, when discussing the common-law doctrine, that the term is “not confined to articles of food or clothing required to sustain life, but has a much broader meaning and includes such articles for use by a wife as are suitable to maintain her according to the property and condition in life of her husband.” Jordan Marsh Co. v. Cohen, 242 Mass. 245, 249 (1922).

Consequently, the Courts have found that necessities include nursing home care. See Mediplex of Mass., Inc. v. Donovan, 1994 Mass.App.Div. 123, 1994 WL 361967 (1994) and Emerson Vill., LLC v. Jode, No. MICV201201736F, 2012 WL 6928123 (Mass. Super. Dec. 15, 2012). In Emerson, husband and wife (“Husband” and “Wife”) were a long-married couple. In April 2010, Husband was admitted to skilled nursing facility (“Nursing Home”) for long term care. Husband applied for MassHealth long term care benefits (“Benefits”) to […]