The new Mandatory Sick Time Law in Massachsetts

November 7, 2014 Written by

This following comes courtesy of Paychex, Corp.:
When the law goes into effect next July, employees whose companies do not offer sick time as a benefit will be able to earn it. Workers can earn one hour of paid time off for personal illness or medical appointments, for an illness in the family, or to deal with a domestic abuse situation, for every 30 hours worked. Employees will not be able to earn more than 40 paid hours per year. The ’yes’ vote will also give workers at companies with fewer than 11 employees the chance to earn unpaid sick time. New employees can start to use this time after 90 days of employment (or 90 days after July 1 for current employees).

Employees can carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time to the next calendar year, but cannot use more than 40 hours in a calendar year. Employers will not have to pay employees for unused sick time at the end of their employment. If an employee missed work for a reason eligible for earned sick time, but agreed with the employer to work the same number of hours or shifts in the same or next pay period, the employee will not have to use earned sick time for the missed time, and the employer will not have to pay for that missed time. Employers are prohibited from requiring such an employee to work additional hours to make up for missed time, or to find a replacement employee.

Employers can require certification of the need for sick time if an employee used sick time for more than 24 consecutively scheduled work hours. Employers can not delay the taking of or payment for earned sick time because they have not received the certification. Employees would have to make a good faith effort to notify the employer in advance if the need for earned sick time is foreseeable.

Employers are prohibited from interfering with or retaliating based on an employee’s exercise of earned sick time rights, and from retaliating based on an employee’s support of another employee’s exercise of such rights.

The does not override employers’ obligations under any contract or benefit plan with more generous provisions than those in the proposed law. Employers that have their own policies providing as much paid time off, usable for the same purposes and under the same conditions, as the proposed law would not be required to provide additional paid sick time.

The Attorney General enforces the proposed law, using the same enforcement procedures applicable to other state wage laws, and employees could file suits in court to enforce their earned sick time rights. The Attorney General will have to prepare a multilingual notice regarding the right to earned sick time, and employers will be required to post the notice in a conspicuous location and to provide a copy to employees. The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Attorney General, will be developing a multilingual outreach program to inform the public of the availability of earned sick time.

Feel free to call the office if you have any questions.



Written by: Doug Rodrigues