Two days at work there were passing out a sheet to employees to read and sign. Since almost the entire workforce is Spanish speaking they only had one English language copy so I didn’t get the form until yesterday.
Apparently Massachusetts with it’s veto proof Democrat majorities in both the house and senate decided that having NY & CT nextdoor is enough to keep business in the state so they passed a law mandating PAID leave, Up to 20 weeks for having kids and up to 26 weeks for a medical condition, up to a max of $840 a week (That’s $42K a year). Under the law the employer is responsible for 60% of this dough while the state is responsible for the other 40%, but where does the state get this money?
Well it gets it from workers. A deductions of .75% from your paycheck will be starting shortly to pay for this and oddly enough, the deduction is coming two years before this goes into effect (I suspect to make it look like it covers the costs) so you get to pay for this plan for over a year before anyone gets a penny.
Now when I read this aloud and mentioned what it actually involved the people around me seemed to think it was a good idea. The chance to get a full paycheck for 20+ weeks without working sounded really good, at least they did until I pointed out some basic math that I did in my head.
The current minimum wage in MA is $12 and goes to up .75 each Jan 1st till it hits $15 an hour. Because of the Trump economy and the difficulty in getting workers the temps are getting as much as $13 an hour. So here is the math:
$13.00 & .0075 = .0975
When people hear “three quarters of one percent” they think less than a penny, but oddly enough when I told the person working next to me that thanks to this new law he would now be making .10 less an hour he attitude toward the new law changed dramatically. People understand the difference between getting ten cents an hour less than not.
He objected to the boss who reiterated that the cost was only three quarters of one percent which seemed to placate him even though that amount was still the same .10 an hour less.
I wonder how many tens of thousands of people in the state never even thought about how much that pay cut is, or more importantly how much that pay cut is going to become once people start making claims in two years.
Closing thought: In a Trump economy that’s booming, a state like Massachusetts and the business located there might, just might be growing enough to absorb all of these costs. What happens when he and the policies that have produced all this growth are gone and these bills still have to be paid?