Important Changes to Laws and Mandates in 2022

As we get ready for 2022, it is important to be aware of several changes to laws and policies that will have an impact on the business climate.  Laws pertaining to minimum wage and PFMLA take effect at the start of the year.  In terms of COVID-19, enforcement of a federal mask and vaccination requirement for large employers will depend on court proceedings slated for January 7, while several policies put in place at the height of the pandemic will expire in the first few months of 2022.

Minimum Wage/ Premium Pay: On January 21, 2022, several changes related to minimum wage are set to take effect as part of the Grand Bargain legislation.

  • The Commonwealth’s minimum wage experiences a 75-cent bump when it rises from $13.50 an hour up to $14.25 an hour.
  • The wage for tipped employees is also facing an increase of 60-cents, bringing it from $5.55 an hour to $6.15 an hour.
  • The Retail Premium Pay mandate reduces to 1.1 times the employee’s regular hourly rate for work.
  • State Resource: Minimum wage and overtime information |

Legal Holidays:

  • Just a reminder that Juneteenth Independence Day (June 19) was designated by the legislature in 2020 as a new annual state holiday. In 2022, the Juneteenth holiday falls on a Sunday and under state law must be observed on Monday. As a legal holiday, there are certain new legal obligations for some employers. Specifically, premium pay and voluntariness of employment requirements apply.
  • State Resources:

Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML):

COVID-19 Measures:

  • Federal OSHA “Mask or Test” Mandate
    • OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring a vaccine-or-test mandate for private employers with more than 100 employees. Under the ETS:
      • Employers must have an up-to-date log with all employees’ vaccination status.
      • Employers must have a vaccination/testing policy in place.
      • Employers must support vaccinations, including: pay up to four hours to travel to get vaccination and provide sick leave for a reasonable time (two days) to recover from vaccination side effects.
      • Employees must immediately provide any notice of a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis, and they must be removed from the workplace.
      • Employees who are not fully vaccinated must wear face coverings when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.
      • Work-related COVID-19 fatalities must be reported to OSHA within eight hours and work-related COVID-19 inpatient hospitalizations within 24 hours.
      • Records must be available for OSHA inspection.
      • Employers must ensure that employees who are not fully vaccinated are tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if in the workplace at least once a week) or within seven days before returning to work (if away from the workplace for a week or longer).
      • Employers may require employees to pay for any costs associated with testing; however, state/local laws or regulations, collective bargaining agreements, or other agreements may require employer payment.
    • OSHA has indicated that it will not issue citations for failure to comply with the ETS vaccine mandate until Jan. 10, 2022, and they will not issue citations for noncompliance with the ETS testing requirements before Feb. 9, 2022, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good-faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.
    • The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear expedited oral arguments in challenges to the mandate on January 7.
    • Federal Resources:
  • CDC Isolation and Quarantine: Responding to pressure over their recent shortened isolation period recommendations, the CDC updated its guidance to include a testing component. The CDC is now telling people that if they have access to a Covid-19 test to take it at the end of their five-day isolation period. If the test is positive, isolated people are advised to continue their isolation until 10 days after their symptoms started. If the test is negative, isolated people can end their isolation but are advised to wear a mask around other people until day 10. The recommendations advise people who are isolating to avoiding immunocompromised people and staying away from places where they can’t wear a mask, such as restaurants and gyms, and to avoid eating around others until day 10.
  • Mask Advisory: Last month, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released an advisory that recommends all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering in indoor, public spaces.
  • COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave: The state’s COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Paid Sick Leave program is set to expire on April 1, 2022.
  • Open Meeting Law: public bodies are permitted to accommodate remote participation through April 1, 2022.
  • Outdoor Dining: Enables outdoor dining to continue through an expedited permit process through April 1, 2022.
    • Please note that municipalities retain authority locally to issue, suspend, or terminate such permits
  • To-Go Cocktails/Drinks: Allows establishments with on-premise licenses to sell alcoholic beverages (i.e. wine, beer, mixed drinks, etc.) for off-premise consumption until May 1, 2022.


Join us on January 12, 2022 for the next edition of the Chamber’s Human Resources Council series. The January edition will feature a legal update from Attorney Corey Higgins,Partner at Mirick O’Connell. He will review changes occurring concerning employment, benefits, and more!This event will be online and recorded