Massachusetts New Earned Sick Time Law In Effect July 1, 2015

The Basics of What Employers Need to Know

This past November, 2014, the Massachusetts Legislature approved a new law which allows employees to earn and accrue sick time.  The new law, which is an amendment to the Massachusetts Wage Act, at will go into effect on July 1, 2015.

Here are the top ten key points that you need to know about this new law.

  1. This law applies to ALL employers in Massachusetts, unless the employer is the U.S. Government or a city, town or local public employer that has voted to accept the law.
  2. All employees, whether they are full-time, part-time or temporary, are now entitled to accrue and use sick time.
  3. If you have 11 or more employees you have to allow for paid sick time. If you have 11 or fewer employees only need to offer unpaid sick time.
  4. Employees can only use a maximum of 40 hours of sick time in any calendar year?
  5. Employees can use the sick time to care for themselves or for their children, spouse, parent or their spouse’s parent.
  6. You cannot ask your employees to work extra hours to make up for the work hours missed for allowable sick time.
  7. You cannot ask your employee for a doctor’s note unless they miss 24 consecutive work hours.
  8. If you already have a paid time off policy that complies with this new law, you do not need to offer additional paid time off.
  9. It is unlawful for you to interfere with or discourage your employees in any way from using accrued sick time and you cannot retaliate against them if they assert their rights under this new law.
  10. The law is regulated by the Attorney General and violations can subject employers to treble damages, plus the employee’s attorney’s fees and costs.

The next post will explain the law in more detail.

-Peter Fisher