MANDATORY SICK LEAVE FOR MASSACHUSETTS-BASED EMPLOYEES

Type:  General 

 

 

With Massachusetts voters passing the bill requiring mandatory sick leave beginning July 1, 2015, Massachusetts employees will be allowed to accrue up to 40 hours of sick time per calendar year.

 

Those employers with less than 11 employees must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time.  Employers with 11 or more employees must provide this time as paid sick leave.  The sick time must be compensated at the same hourly rate paid to the employee when the sick time is used. 

 

Under the law, all employees (both exempt and non-exempt) earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked with employees beginning to accrue sick time hours on either their date of hire or, as of July 1, 2015, whichever is later.  The maximum # of hours an employee can accrue in a calendar year is 40 hours.

 

Prepare to start tracking all employees time worked.  As of July 1, 2015, employers will need to have a documented system of recording hours worked for each employee.  Once an employee has worked 30 hours, he/she will have “banked” 1 hour of sick leave which can be used after 90 days of employment. 

 

Employees may use this sick time to: 

  1. Care for a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition affecting the employee or the employee's child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse; 
     
  2. Attend routine medical appointments of the employee or the employee's child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse; or
     
  3. Address the effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee's dependent child. 

In certain circumstances, employers may require employees to provide certification of the need for sick time (this still needs to be defined by the legislature).

 

Employers must also allow up to 40 hours of unused sick time to be “carried over” in to the next calendar year.  However, an employee only needs to be provided with up to 40 hours of earned sick time in each calendar year.

 

NOTE:  Employers are not required to pay an employee for unused sick time when the employee separates from your organization.

 

Be careful!  Employers may not use the taking of earned sick time as a negative factor in any employment action such as an employee’s performance evaluation, promotion opportunities, disciplinary action or termination under this law.

 

For those employers who offer “Paid Time Off/PTO” (which groups vacation and sick time together), you do not have to offer an additional 40 hours of sick time, unless, you currently:

 

  1. Are not offering employees (e.g., part-time, temporary, seasonal) PTO
  2. Do not offer accrual of 1 hour for each 30 hours of work
  3. Offer less than 40 hours of PTO in a calendar year
  4. Do not allow “carry over” of PTO into the next year

 

What To Do Now:

Employers should review their current sick time, vacation and/or PTO policies and update, as necessary to be in compliance with this new law before July 1, 2015. 

 

If you should have questions, please contact Lauren Brenner at Lbrenner@telamonins.com.