Archives for May 2015

Attorney General Proposes Regulations to Govern Massachusetts Sick Leave Law

In accord with the new sick leave law passed by Massachusetts voters in November and set to take effect on July 1, 2015, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has issued draft regulations. Once adopted, the AG’s rules will govern sick leave issues in substantial respects by filling in gaps in the law and adding important interpretations. Following are some highlights of the AG’s current proposal.

— Sick leave accrual will apply to all employees, broadly defined to include anyone who “performs services for an employer” as set out in the state’s independent contractor statute. It is thus highly unlikely that businesses will avoid the accrual and pay requirements of the new statute by classifying workers as contractors.

— All employees whose primary place of work is in Massachusetts will be covered by the law, even if they also work in other states.

— Workers who are employed on April 1, 2015 will start accruing leave (at the rate one hour for every 30 worked) on July 1 and can use it as it accrues. Others will also accrue leave beginning July 1 (if then employed) but cannot use it until employed for 90 days. [Read more…]

Deadline for Implementing New Sick Leave Policies is Approaching

For those not already prepared, it’s time to start planning for pending changes to Massachusetts’ sick leave requirements. The new law that was adopted by voters last November is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2015. By that date, all employers should have reviewed their existing policies for compliance with the new requirements.

All Massachusetts employees will be entitled under the new law to accrue sick leave at the rate one hour for every 30 hours they work, with a cap at 40 earned hours per year. For employers of 11 or more workers, sick leave must be a paid benefit. Employees can begin to use sick leave 90 days after accrual begins. Though they can carry sick time over from year to year, employers can cap annual usage at 40 hours. Sick leave need not be paid out when an employee leaves work.

The law also provides that sick leave can be used in four circumstances. 1. When a worker’s physical or mental health require. 2. When the health of a child, spouse, parent, or parental in-law requires. 3. For regular medical appointments of certain family members. 4. To deal with certain impacts of domestic violence. Employers should take care to ensure their policies cover all four of these areas and otherwise comply with the statute’s requirements. Written policies are advisable.