BECOMING A MEMBER OF RAM IS ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS YOU CAN MAKE FOR YOUR BUSINESS.  
By joining you gain access to exclusive, money saving discounts on services and programs, legislative updates and advocacy as well as valuable educational opportunities. We aim to help you grow and protect your business, promote the retail industry and save your business money. Click here to JOIN NOW!

And the award for Retailer of the Year goes to….

Click here to submit your nomination!  

The RAMAEs have honored small and large retailers, rookies and veterans, identifying hidden gems from all corners of the state.  Help us identify the businesses who deserve to be recognized for their resilience, innovation, customer service or going above and beyond to make the retail experience memorable.
 
Click here to nominate your business.  Let us know something about your business that is truly unique or if you have special employees that should be recognized. Maybe your business has been a part of your community for generations.  How do you make your business stand out?

There is no limit to the number of businesses you can nominate.  So nominate all those you love as well. There are so many deserving of this recognition, help us find our 2024 winners.

Click here for more information.

 

RAMHIC Offerings for 2024  

RAMHIC continues to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to offer members access to the carrier's entire portfolio of high quality, small group health insurance plans.  

All members purchasing their health insurance coverage through the cooperative will also receive an expanded list of ancillary benefits, FREE of charge. 

Click image above to view a BCBS produced informational video on the power of the RAM/BCBS Cooperative. 

Please see our brochure for more detail on the expanded benefit package.  Specific information regarding each benefit may be found below: 

For more information please visit the RAMHIC page of our website. 


 

  

 

Legislature Sends Supplemental Budget to the Governor

Deal includes permanent authorization of outdoor
dining permitting and cocktails-to-go

 
 
The MA House and Senate finalized a supplemental budget bill today that authorizes Governor Maura Healey to spend an additional $426 million over the last remaining months of this fiscal year and the beginning of next fiscal year to address the state’s ongoing emergency shelter crisis.  The authorization of more funding for the emergency housing assistance program does come with additional reforms set by the Legislature, including a nine-month limit on how long families can stay in the state's emergency shelters, with funding also set aside for job training and additional services.  With the recent influx of migrants, the state is projected to spend over $900 million in FY24 on the emergency shelter program and another $950 million in FY25.
 
The bill also makes permanent certain pandemic era policies affecting restaurants, including allowing for cocktails to go and streamlined permitting for outdoor dining.  Initially established as temporary programs during the COVID era that required periodic renewal by the Legislature, authorization for both had expired on April 1.  Both will now become permanent fixtures in law, with the change being that only mixed cocktails will be allowed to be sold with to-go orders, but not beer or wine.
 
Governor Healey is expected to sign the bill into law.

 

 

Visa & Mastercard Interchange Fee Settlement

Claims Deadline - May 31, 2024


RAM members are advised to act now to see if they are entitled to a portion of the pending $5.54 billion Visa/Mastercard Interchange Settlement.  The settlement stems from a class action antitrust lawsuit alleging that the credit card companies overcharged interchange fees on merchants accepting credit card payments.
 
Merchants that accepted Visa or Mastercard payments at any time from January 1, 2004 to January 25, 2019 may be eligible to recover funds from this settlement.  To take part in the settlement, impacted merchants MUST FILE A CLAIM via the court-approved settlement portal at www.paymentcardsettlement.com.  The deadline for filing a claim is set for May 31st.
 
The process for checking eligibility and filing a claim on the portal is simple and straightforward.  Merchants that have received a Claim Form by mail from the Class Administrator may use the Claimant ID included in the document to start the claims process.  Merchants that have not received a Claim Form by mail, may look up their eligibility on the portal using their federal Taxpayer Identification Number.   
 
Please note that there are third party firms currently offering claims filing services to merchants.  Before engaging with a third party to file your claim, RAM strongly recommends first checking your claim on the portal as described above.  Services offered by these third parties are often costly, and also unnecessary due to the resources made available by the Class Administrator including no-cost assistance with submitting a claim.
 
Members with questions may contact RAM General Counsel, Ryan Kearney, at [email protected].

 

U.S. Department of Labor Increases Compensation Thresholds for Overtime Eligibility

New Rule ensures salaried workers making less than $58,656 receive overtime pay 


The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced a final rule that expands overtime protections for millions of the nation’s lower-paid salaried workers by increasing the salary thresholds required to exempt a salaried bona fide executive, administrative or professional employee from federal overtime pay requirements.  Effective July 1, 2024, the current annual salary threshold of $35,568 ($684 per week) will increase to $43,888 ($844 per week) and then increase again to $58,656 ($1,128 per week) on Jan. 1, 2025.  Starting July 1, 2027, salary thresholds will then update every three years, by applying up-to-date wage data to determine new salary levels.  The new rules also increase the salary threshold for qualifying for the Highly Compensated Employee exemption from $107,432 to $132,964 on July 1st, and then to $151,164 on January 1, 2025.  While legal challenges to these new rules are anticipated, RAM advises all members to review their compensation policies to ensure compliance due to the fast approaching July 1 effective date.

 

FTC Announces Rule Banning Noncompetes

 

The Federal Trade Commission issued a final rule banning noncompetes nationwide.  The policy is intended to promote competition, protect the fundamental freedom of workers to change jobs, increase innovation, and foster new business formation.  Under the FTC’s new rule, existing noncompetes for the vast majority of workers will no longer be enforceable after the rule’s effective date.  Existing noncompetes for senior executives (employees earning more than $151,164 and who are in policy-making positions ) - who represent less than 0.75% of workers - can remain in force under the FTC’s final rule, but employers are banned from entering into or attempting to enforce any new noncompetes, even if they involve senior executives. 

Employers will be required to provide notice to workers (other than senior executives) who are bound by an existing noncompete that they will not be enforcing any noncompetes against them.  To aid employers’ compliance with this requirement, the Commission has included model language in the final rule that employers can use to communicate to workers.  The final rule will become effective 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.