9:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey will speak at MassBio's annual State of Possible Conference. The governor is scheduled to talk about her administration's agenda to make Massachusetts more affordable, grow the state's competitiveness, create more opportunities for students to pursue STEM careers and build a pipeline of skilled workers in high-demand industries like the life sciences. | Royal Sonesta Boston, 40 Edwin Land Blvd., Cambridge
10:30 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will join the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), MassHousing, Nuestra Comunidad and residents to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Loop at Mattapan Station, a new transit-oriented 135-unit affordable mixed-use housing community in Mattapan Square.
11:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey visits local businesses in the Fall River Industrial Park with Mayor Paul Coogan and Undersecretary of Economic Foundations Ashley Stolba. | 600 and 925 Airport Rd., Fall River | 372, 333 and 270 S. Main St., Fall River
2 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey hosts a roundtable with business leaders to discuss economic development in Fall River. Mayor Coogan and Lt. Gov. Polito also participate. | Creative Class, 64 Durfee St., Fall River
Beacon Hill lawmakers are considering a pair of proposals that are designed to shave down the typical work week to as few as 32 hours.
“It’s a radical idea but we want to do it in a pragmatic way,” said Rep. Josh Cutler.
Worker burnout is a real problem confronting industries like healthcare on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic. One in four Massachusetts doctors is considering stepping away from the profession. But workers across all sectors worldwide are struggling. A recent Gallup survey on worker wellness found 60% of people were “emotionally detached at work” while 19% were reportedly “miserable.”
“Now that the pandemic is in the rearview and we have the labor shortages we’re dealing with, this is the perfect time to look at this big-picture piece of the puzzle,” Cutler said.
The Duxbury Democrat is pitching a solution for less work, more play and the same pay. It’s an idea that’s quickly gained momentum abroad.
A four-day workweek trial in England with 61 companies and 2,900 workers — the world’s largest yet — was a “resounding success,” according to researchers.
Fifty-six of the businesses that participated in last year’s study are continuing the experiment. Employees reported improved well-being, with 54% saying it was easier to strike a balance between work and household duties. Employees were also more satisfied with their household finances, relationships and how their time was being managed, results show.
Cutler’s bill, filed with Rep. Dylan Fernandes of Falmouth, would put the model to the test in Massachusetts.
It would establish a two-year pilot administered by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Much like the U.K. program, Cutler’s bill bucks the idea that the switch to a four-day week must be a ”‘one-size-fits-all” approach. Instead, each participating company would design a policy tailored to its particular industry and needs.
Employers participate voluntarily and are only required to offer their employees a “meaningful reduction in actual work hours without any reduction in overall pay.” Employers would receive a tax break to incentivize them to participate and provide feedback.
Another bill that embraces a four-day work week, filed by Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven of Somerville, would pay workers overtime after 32 hours.
Both bills will get hearings before the Legislature’s Labor and Workforce Development Committee, which Cutler co-chairs.
Nearly 85 years after the Fair Labor Standards Act implemented the 40-hour work week, Cutler said Massachusetts should “at least” consider exploring a change.
“There’s been no major examination since then when we did not prioritize things like mental health and work-life balance as much back then,” Cutler said.
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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chose Boston Park Plaza for the backdrop of his presidential announcement speech last week, leaning into his famous family’s Democratic legacy. But the son of the U.S. attorney general-turned senator who was assassinated in office espouses anything but Kennedy ideals, WBZ political analyst writes in his latest column.
House budget debate rambles on
House lawmakers return to formal session at 11 a.m. today to continue debate on the House Ways and Means Committee’s $56.2 billion budget (H 3900) for the coming fiscal year plus the 1,566 amendments filed alongside it.
Representatives spent 10 hours deliberating on Monday, but the floor was empy for most of the day as the majority of compromises and decisions took place behind closed doors. House Democrats quickly approved leadership’s proposal to exempt new surtax revenue, estimated at $1 billion for next year, from counting toward the annual state tax collection cap outlined under a law known as Chapter 62F.
Two mega-amendments were adopted that dealt with education, local aid, social services, veterans’ services, health and human services, and elder affairs categories.
MBTA, MassDOT get first-ever safety chief
Gov. Maura Healey on Monday delivered on her campaign trail promise and appointed veteran transit official Patrick Lavin as the state’s first-ever transportation safety officer, reports Chris Lisinski for State House News Service. The announcement came 110 after the Democratic governor’s self-imposed deadline. Lavin will serve as “the primary representative for overall safety issues” not only at the MBTA but also on rail, bus, paratransit and highways across Massachusetts.
Another shot at fare-free transit
Federal lawmakers renewed a pitch to make public transit free on Monday, reports Grace Zokovitch for The Boston Herald. The act, first introduced in 2020, would provide $25 billion in competitive grants over five years to support state and local efforts to implement fare-free public transportation systems, the sponsors said, as well as investing in public transportation safety, quality and equity efforts.
Boston parents worried for children’s safety in school, poll shows
Two-thirds of Boston Public Schools parents are concerned about their child’s physical safety while in school, according to new survey results released Tuesday by the MassINC Polling Group, WBUR reports. Three out of four respondents said they were in favor of placing police officers and metal detectors in their children’s school.
College deemed ‘fraudulent’ mounts comeback
Massachusetts Central University, which the state’s Department of Higher Education has previously said was “fraudulent,” via cease and desist orders in 2021 has resurfaced, offering “the finest educational experience in online learning” with accreditations from several agencies.
Springfield city council race heats up
The mayoral race in Springfield will not be the only one with a preliminary in 2023. There were 12 candidates to turn in enough signatures for the at-large race where a preliminary becomes necessary once 11 people (twice the number at-large seats plus one) are on the ballot. Voters will whittle the list down to 10 candidates for the Nov. 7 general election in a Sept. 12 primary.
Buses replacing trains to Braintree, other May MBTA service changes
The MBTA is shuttering sections of its system in May so that workers can fix the tracks and eliminate speed restrictions that have stymied commutes for weeks. MBTA officials rolled out a schedule of shutdowns and diversions for next month impacting all four major subway lines and several commuter rail lines. Much of the work planned for the Red Line is related to slow zones, which today cover about 26 percent of the entire line that stretches from Cambridge to Braintree and Mattapan.
Worcester cops could get bonus for wearing body cams
The Worcester City Council will decide this week whether to endorse a plan to pay members of the city’s department who agree to don body-worn cameras an annual stipend of $1,300. The extra pay helps resolve a dispute with police unions, which had argued that wearing the cams represented a major change in working conditions.
New seal who this? Natick considers how far to go in replacing town insignia
Voters at Natick town meeting could approve a new town seal this week to replace one that local indigenous tribes have called offensive. Jesse Collings of the MetroWest Daily News reports the new seal, depicting a dam on the Charles River, cost just $5,000 to create while the price tag for replacing all the old symbols–on fire trucks, street signs and recycling bins–could cost nearly $700,000.
Deck officer shortage could crimp Steamship Authority service this summer
The Steamship Authority says it may have to reduce the number of ferries it runs to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket this summer because of a sudden shortage of deck officers. Four of the marine safety experts will be unavailable to work this summer for various reasons and the authority says it hopes to cover the shortfall with overtime for as long as possible.
Woman indicted for leaving hate symbols at house of Jewish lawyer representing child’s father
A Massachusetts woman has been arrested and charged with leaving a series of paper swastikas outside the house of a Jewish lawyer who is representing her child’s father in an ongoing custody battle.
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