Amy E. Allen, SPHR

It’s no secret that the ever-changing employment law landscape can be both complicated and difficult to keep track of – employment laws differ from state to state and often from federal employment law. 

An important piece of Massachusetts legislation goes into effect July 1, 2018 – An Act to Establish Pay Equity, which amends the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA). The updated law is intended to provide clarity around what constitutes gender-based wage discrimination. Key provisions of the legislation include:

  • A shift in definition from “equal” work to “comparable” work
  • Greater protection for both employees and job applicants regarding sharing or requiring salary information
  • Affirmative defense guidelines for employers to avoid costly back wages, penalties and legal costs

MEPA applies to all Massachusetts employers irrespective of size. It’s also important to note that employees have three years from the date of each violation to bring an action in court – each paycheck can be considered a separate violation.

Employers will be challenged by questions around “comparable” work, how to properly assess their pay practices to establish an affirmative defense, and training for managers. Our team of HR experts at BlumShapiro have more than 50 years of experience and are here to help employers navigate MEPA and the myriad of local, state and federal employment laws that apply to your organization; as an extension of your business we can help minimize risk exposure, avoid costly expenses, and allow you to focus on what’s most important - running your organization. 

For more information on how MEPA applies to your company and how we can help contact partner Amy Allen at or 617-221-1937.

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