Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law Becomes Effective July 1, 2015
The Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148C), approved by a statewide ballot question last fall, goes into effect July 1, 2015. As of July 1, 2015, all employers must comply with the statute. Applicable regulations promulgated by the Massachusetts Attorney General have also been issued.
Importantly, all employers operating in Massachusetts are subject to the law and all employees whose “primary place of work” is in Massachusetts are eligible for benefits. The new law generally calls for accrual of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours of sick leave per year.
Employers with 11 or more employees must provide paid leave. Employers with fewer than 11 employees are obligated to provide unpaid leave.
Employers need to pay close attention to this new law, as even employers who have generous sick time or paid time off (“PTO”) policies may find themselves not in compliance. The law has strict provisions regarding the rate of accrual, the rollover of time, qualifying circumstances, and increments of use. Additionally, employers must comply with the law’s notice and record keeping requirements.
An immediate priority for covered Massachusetts employers is to decide whether they will come into full compliance with the law immediately or take advantage of the law’s safe harbor provision for the remainder of 2015. Additionally, employers should post the notice required by the Attorney General’s Office as of July 1, 2015.