5 Small Biz Issues Likely to Resurface in 2017

Date: October 18, 2016 Last Edit: October 20, 2016

Surprise, surprise: Mandates and tax hikes are on the table.

5 Small Biz Issues Likely to Resurface in 2017

The formal legislative session
ended in July, but Massachusetts lawmakers continue to meet for informal
sessions throughout the remainder of the year. Several key issues could be discussed and prepared for advancement in 2017, so here’s a look at the items important to small business owners.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

The Senate passed legislation in
July that would give employees up to 13 weeks paid leave for their own illness
and up to 26 weeks paid leave to care for a family member. While the
NFIB-opposed bill failed to advance through the Legislature, it will appear
again in the next session.

 Wage Theft

Under the goal of enhancing the
enforcement of wage laws, the wage theft bill sought to impose vicarious
liability on law-abiding companies for misclassification of employees and
violations of wage and unemployment insurance laws. Employers would be fined
for conducting business with a person who violates the law. NFIB is opposed to
this bill, and while it didn’t advance in the last session, it is likely to be
refiled for next year.

Credit History Ban

Legislation that aimed to
prohibit employers from using a job applicant’s credit history in any decisions
on hiring, firing, advancement, or disciplinary decisions failed to pass the
Legislature, but will likely be considered again.

Graduated Income Tax

A proposed constitutional
amendment to implement a 4 percent surtax on income in excess of $1 million
remains a top priority for many lawmakers. This individual income tax could be
a huge hit to some small business owners who pay their business taxes at the
individual rate as pass-through entities.

Predictive Scheduling

NFIB-opposed “fair scheduling”
legislation—in which employers are required to post employees’ work schedule
two to three weeks in advance and pay penalty wages to workers if the schedule
is changed—is likely to resurface.

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