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.