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Changes in Funeral Home Regulations Aim to Help Local Businesses

WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WGGB) —  Like many businesses, funeral homes have their own financial struggles in this economy.  Now some long awaited relief.

“There are so many blue laws on the books regarding funeral homes that are archaic an no one has really taken the time to change them and modernize them,” said Frank O’Brien.

O’Brien and his wife Ellen run The Wilbraham Funeral Home and Toomey-O’Brien Funeral Home in West Springfield.

He says the regulation changes will make a big difference.  Now they can have part time employees.

“When your saying you don’t have to have full time person, not paying the benefits, insurance, that’s huge,” added O’Brien.

The new regulations also allow the employee  to work part time at more than one funeral home.  They also allow a position known as “a registered funeral assistant”.

“They’re not meeting with the family or doing the embalming.  They’re helping with the transfer of remains from home or hospital.  Right now, the apprentice has to be full time, so this allows us the option to have an assistant but doesn’t have to be full time,” explained O’Brien.

With O’Brien’s family run funeral homes doing more than 250 funerals a year, these changes come at a perfect time.

“Families are choosing to have their loved ones pass away at home, which I think it great.  In addition to that you’re now required to go out at 2,3,4 in the morning, where you used to be able to wait and get it at the hospital the next morning.  It’s simply we have to be ready to go 24-hours a day so that’s a lot of staffing and coverage hours,” said O’Brien.

The new regulations are part of the Governors’ initiative to streamline regulations for small businesses to help them to succeed and even grow.

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