Massachusetts Unemployment Compensation laws & HR compliance analysis

Massachusetts Unemployment Compensation: What you need to know

Virtually all employers are subject to unemployment insurance taxes under the Massachusetts Employment Security Law (ALM GL ch. 151A, Sec. 1 et seq.). For example, the law's coverage extends to:
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• Anyone who paid wages of $1,500 or more during any quarter of a calendar year or who employed one or more individuals in each of 13 weeks in a calendar year;
• Any employer subject to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) that employs at least one person in the commonwealth;
• Any employer that acquires the trade or business of a covered employer; and
• Any employer that elects to be covered (ALM GL ch. 151A, Sec. 8).
The law excludes certain services from coverage, including, for example, services provided by:
• Students working for schools, colleges, or universities;
• Students working for work-study programs;
• Spouses of students working for schools;
• Real estate and insurance salespersons (except for industrial life insurance agents);
• Student nurses;
• Hospital interns;
• Certain newspaper distributors (e.g., minors); and
• Certain poll takers (ALM GL ch. 151A, Sec. 6).
Taxable wage base. For the current taxable wage base, visit http://www.mass.gov/lwd/unemployment-insur/employer-contributions/contributions/contribution-rate.html. The term “wages” includes:
• The reasonable value of any noncash remuneration, such as board, rent, housing, and lodging; and
• Salaries, commissions, and bonuses (ALM GL ch. 151A, Sec. 1).
Rates. To find the current tax rate, visit http://www.mass.gov/lwd/unemployment-insur/employer-contributions/contributions/contribution-rate.html. New employers pay a certain set percentage.
Experience rating. After a new employer period, an employer receives an ...

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