SECTION 1. Chapter 23 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after Section 11W the following new chapter:-
Chapter 11X. Commonwealth Living Wage Law
Section 1. Definitions.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the definitions set forth herein:
(a) “Employer receiving state benefits” shall mean any employer, as defined in section one of chapter one hundred fifty-two, that satisfies at least one of the following conditions, within the preceding three years and after the effective date of this chapter:
(1) The employer had a contractual relationship with the state, including, but not limited to, contracts for the sale or lease of goods or services or other property that is valued at $100,000 or more; provided that a non-profit provider of human services shall not be included herein unless the provider’s contract with the state includes adequate funding to cover payment of a living wage to the provider’s employees.
(2) The employer received a tax benefit valued at $100,000 or more from the commonwealth under the terms of one or more of the following provisions: sub-sections (g), (j), (l), (m), (n), (o), (p), (q), or (r) of section six of chapter sixty-two, or sections six I, six J, six M, six N, or six ½ of chapter sixty-two, or sections thirty-one A, thirty-one E, thirty-one H, thirty-one L, thirty-one M, thirty-eight M, thirty-eight N, thirty-eight P, thirty-eight Q, thirty-eight R, thirty-eight U, thirty-eight W, thirty-eight X, thirty-eight Z, thirty-eight AA, thirty-eight BB, thirty-eight CC, thirty-eight EE, or thirty-eight FF of chapter sixty-three.
(3) The employer was a subcontractor or a sub-lessee of an employer receiving state benefits, within the meaning of this section.
(b) “Living wage” shall mean an hourly wage of not less than $13.89 per hour, as of January 1, 2016; not less than $14.39 per hour as of January 1, 2017; not less than $14.89 per hour as of January 1, 2018; and not less than $15.00 per hour as of January 1, 2019. As of January 1, 2020 and each year thereafter, “living wage” shall mean $15.00 per hour inflated to reflect the increase in the consumer price index between the beginning of 2020 and the beginning of the year in question.
Section 2. Payment of Living Wage
(a) Every employer receiving state benefits, as defined in this chapter, shall pay each of its employees employed within the commonwealth at least a living wage, as defined in this chapter. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any employee during any period when such employee’s wages are governed by any other provision of law mandating a higher wage.
(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be read to require or authorize any employer receiving state benefits to reduce wages set by a collective bargaining agreement.
(c) No employer receiving state benefits shall fund wage increases required by this chapter, or otherwise respond to the provisions of this chapter, by reducing the health, insurance, pension, vacation, or other non-wage benefits of any of its employees.
Section 3. Administration and Enforcement
(a) The director of the division of labor standards is hereby authorized and directed to promulgate regulations as necessary or advisable for the effective administration and enforcement of this chapter. The director may require that covered employers keep records and submit reports to the director that the director determines are necessary for the effective administration and enforcement of this chapter.
(b) Every employer receiving state benefits shall post in a prominent and easily accessible place at the work site of any affected employee a notice of (1) the living wage rate, (2) the employee’s rights under this chapter, and (3) contact information for the state agency responsible for enforcement of this chapter. The division of labor standards may specify the appropriate language for such notice.
(c) The director of the division of labor standards may impose on an employer that violates any provision of this chapter a civil penalty not exceeding $500 per violation.
(d) The director of the division of labor standards shall provide, by regulation, for barring any employer violating the provisions of this chapter from receiving the benefits from the state that subject employers to the provisions of this chapter. Said regulations shall provide employers with an opportunity for a fair hearing before debarment, and shall set reasonable terms for the scope and duration of any such debarment.
(e) If an employee was paid less than the wage required under this chapter, the employee is entitled to recover from the employer an amount equal to twice the amount of the difference between the required wage and the amount received by the employee. Such an employee is entitled to sue to recover this amount, and, in a successful suit, is also entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
(f) The attorney general has authority to investigate possible violations of the requirements of this chapter and to bring suit to enforce the requirements of this chapter. In such a suit, the attorney general can recover amounts on behalf of employees as provided in this section, penalties as provided in this section, and such other relief, injunctive or monetary, as may be appropriate.
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