Massachusetts Sick Time Law

The new Massachusetts sick time law goes into effect on July 1, 2015 and requires ALL employers of any size to provide up to 40 hours/year of sick time to ALL Massachusetts employees of any status.

Fairly simple and straightforward.

But, as with all such laws, the details are numerous, and, until the Attorney General issues regulations addressing this new law, some of the details remain uncertain.

Here’s what is known so far:

  • The law applies to all employers regardless of whether they have one employee or 100. The only difference related to the size of the company is that in companies with 11 or more employees, this statutory sick time is paid. Employees in companies with less than 11 employees are entitled to same amount of sick time but that time can be unpaid.
  • The law applies to all Massachusetts employees, whether full-time, part-time or temporary. The law doesn’t address independent contractors but it seems likely that legitimate independent contractors will be excluded from this benefit.
  • The 40 hours do not accrue all at once, but rather at a rate of one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Accrual starts as of 7/1 or the date of hire, whichever is later, but the sick time cannot be used until 90 days after the start of employment.
  • Sick time under this law cannot be subject to a year-end “use or lose it” policy but instead can be carried over from year to year. Nonetheless, an employee cannot use more than 40 hours of this statutory sick time in a single calendar year.

Stay-tuned as the Attorney General, affected employers and eligible employees begin implementation and enforcement of this groundbreaking new law.


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