On June 26th 2014, Chapter 144 “An Act Restoring the Minimum Wage and Providing Unemployment Insurance Reforms,” was signed into Law. In addition to increasing the state’s minimum wage, the law also codified the Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy (JTF), making it a permanent fixture under the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development as the Council on the Underground Economy. The law ensures that government agencies work together in a concerted manner to uncover businesses that conceal or misrepresent their employee population to circumvent their employer responsibilities related to business laws and regulatory requirements. The JTF, established by the Governor in 2008 under Executive Order 499, has to date commenced hundreds of investigations and collected millions of dollars in tax obligations, wage restitution, fines, and penalties from unscrupulous employers. With the enactment of this law, the agency partners that comprise the JTF will become a permanent compliance unit to combat the underground economy. The Council on the Underground Economy will continue Massachusetts’ work to level the playing field by bringing businesses and individuals into compliance with applicable state labor, licensing and tax laws. The law becomes effective March 24, 2015.
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