On Monday, May 18, 2015 the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office released a statement providing that some employers with existing paid time off policies will have a safe harbor for complying with the MA Earned Sick Leave law through December 31, 2015.
Under this safe harbor provision, employers with existing time off policies that provide employees with at least 30 hours of paid time off during this calendar year will be deemed to be in compliance with the new law for 2015. To be in compliance, the employer must ensure that all employees (including part-time and temporary employees) are granted paid time off, and further that employees can use such time during the remainder of the year without interference or retaliation.
Therefore, employers who had a paid time off policy in place as of 5/1/15 which offers all employees at least 30 hours of paid time off in calendar year 2015, will be considered to be in compliance with the sick leave law through 12/31/15.
If an employer has a paid time off policy in place as of 5/1/15 which offers some employees 30 hours of paid time off in calendar year 2015, the employer will be considered to be in compliance with the sick leave law through 12/31/15 for those employees who are currently eligible to receive those 30 hours of paid time off.
NOTE: If an employer grants a PTO allowance of 30 hours to those employees who do not currently receive the 30 hours (e.g., part-time, temporary), the employer will be considered to be in compliance with all their employees. If an employer does not extend the conditions of their pre-existing policy to the other employees, then the employer will need to implement the provisions of the new MA Earned Sick Leave law by 7/1/15.
Those employers who do meet the Safe Harbor qualifications will still need to implement all the provisions of the new MA Earned Sick Leave law by 1/1/16.
The Attorney General's office has also stated that the final guidelines to this law will be issued by June 19, 2015.
If you have further questions, please e-mail Lauren Brenner at Lbrenner@telamonins.com.