Employment Laws to be Aware of as Your Business Grows – Part 6


(Last Updated On: November 17, 2023)

Employment Laws meeting about business growth

Expanding to 20+ employees is a milestone worth celebrating for any MA business. However, it’s also another crucial point at which to reevaluate policies and ensure that they comply with state and federal employment law. Four laws come into play when MA employers reach this threshold: COBRA, ADEA, OWBPA, and the MA Personnel Record Law. Dive into each of their implications to ensure you continue to safeguard your business and foster a fair and positive work environment.

1. COBRA: Health and Dental Insurance Continuation

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, commonly known as COBRA, is a federal mandate that plays a pivotal role in employee benefits policies for employers with 20 or more eligible workers. Under COBRA, employers are obligated to offer health, vision and dental insurance coverage continuation to employees and their dependents who have been terminated. It’s worth noting that while the employer must provide this continuation option, the financial responsibility falls on the employee. This means that terminated employees can continue to benefit from their existing health and dental plans, but they must cover the costs themselves. 

2. Age Discrimination Laws: ADEA and OWBPA 

While Massachusetts’ anti-discrimination laws are applicable to employers with less than 20 employees, federal law kicks in at the 20-employee mark. 

Employers growing to 20 or more employees must also familiarize themselves with two laws aimed at combatting age discrimination: the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA).The former is designed to protect applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination in hiring, promoting, termination, compensation, or terms, conditions, or employment privileges on the basis of age. The latter requires employers to offer older workers (again, defined as aged 40 or above) benefits equal to those offered to younger employees. For Massachusetts employers, this often comes up in the context of drafting severance or separation agreements.  

3. MA Personnel Record Law: Keeping Employee Records in Check 

Finally, when Massachusetts businesses reach this size, they must review their record keeping policies to ensure that they comply with the MA Personnel Record Law. This law provides that if your business keeps the following information relative to their employees, it must be maintained in their personnel record:  

  • Personal Details: This includes the employee’s name, address, date of birth, job title, and description. 
  • Compensation: Details about the employee’s salary or hourly wage, along with any other forms of paid compensation. 
  • Employment Start Date: The date on which the employee began their tenure with the company. 
  • Application Materials: This encompasses the job application, resumes, and any other responses to employment advertisements. 
  • Performance Evaluations: All documents related to employee performance, including evaluations, written warnings of substandard performance, and any disciplinary action records. 
  • Termination Notices: Copies of any dated termination notices must also be retained. 

Rely on Rodman to Help You Remain Compliant 

Reaching the 20+ employee milestone is a testament to your enterprise’s growth and success. But with this growth comes the responsibility of understanding and adhering to additional employment laws.  

The team at Rodman Employment Law is dedicated to guiding businesses like yours through these complexities. Our seasoned attorneys are here to help your workplace remain legally compliant while promoting an environment of inclusivity and respect. Contact us for a quick consultation to find out more about how our firm can partner with and serve your Massachusetts-based business.  

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