On July 1st, 2015, Massachusetts will enact the Earned Sick Time Act, which gives all employees, except government and/or municipal employees, in the state the right to earned sick time in their workplaces. Here are a few things you might want to know:
1. The law applies to all employees (full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary employees, and interns) whose primary place of work is in Massachusetts.
2. An employer that maintains 11 or more employees must provide paid sick leave to employees at their regular hourly rate.
3. Employees must accrue at least 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and may use up to 40 hours of earned sick time in a calendar year.
4. You begin accruing sick leave on the first date of actual work, and may begin using it after they have been employed for at least 90 calendar days.
5. Sick leave can be taken in hourly increments or in the smallest increment your employer’s payroll system will allow.
6. Earned sick time can be used if you, your child, spouse, parent, or parent of spouse is ill; if your family member has a medical appointment; or if you need to address an incidence of domestic violence
7. If you leave your job, your employer is not obligated to pay out accrued , unused sick leave
8. If your employer already offers paid sick leave, they can substitute their own sick, vacation, and/or Paid Time Off policies for Massachusetts sick time, provided that you accrue as much or more time as you would receive under the sick leave law.
9. For long absences, an employer can ask for medical documentation, but they can’t delay your pay if you don’t provide it right away.
There’s a lot more to learn about this act. The Boston Bar Journal recently published an article on the subject for employers to read, but there’s a lot of useful information for everybody. If you’d like to read the article to help you understand your rights once the law takes effect, you can do so here.
If you are having issues with at work and would like to speak with a lawyer, the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service can help. We refer to experienced attorneys, and have been a trusted public resource for over 60 years. To connect with us, you make speak directly with the intake staff by calling 617-742-0625, or by submitting an online request.