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KMA continues its series of blogs on various new state, federal, and local requirements that may affect you operations, HR compliance, and policies and procedures.

For private employers in Massachusetts with more than 11 employees, as of July 1, 2015 you are required to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick time to employees each calendar year.

“Even if you only have one employee in Massachusetts and then elsewhere you still must comply with this benefit,” explains KMA’s Amber M. Barbere. “If you have ten or fewer employees with at least one in Massachusetts, you must still provide the leave but you do not need to pay it. The law applies if MA is the primary place of work even if employees do not live there.”

Under the new law, employees earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked and begin accruing from day one of employment until they reach 40 hours of accrued time. Sick time can be taken after 90 days of employment.

  • Sick leave can be used for employee, child, spouse, parent, or spouse’s parent for reasons including: illness, injuries, medical conditions, medical appointments, and related travel and for domestic violence.
  • Generally, employees must be paid what they would have earned if they had worked.
  • Employers can use other paid time off policies to satisfy the requirement to provide sick time as long as it meets the requirements of the EST law re accrual rate, total hours granted, uses, payment, etc.
  • There is a safe harbor for 2015 that provides a transition until 2016 to allow an employer to still operate under their current paid time off plans. However as of July 1, employees not previously covered must also be able to accrue paid time off or receive a prorated lump sum allocation and use the time off for purposes allowed under the law.
  • Employers must post a notice regarding the EST rights and give a copy to each employee.
  • Employers will need to review their paid time off programs for compliance and revise or create policies. This is a good time to review paid time off for all employees and consider how your organization wants to structure this benefit.

Need further help or guidance?

KMA recommends reviewing this change with your financial and operational staff to determine how it will impact your organization over the short- and long term. KMA is here to help you understand the issue and how best to implement changes for your organization. Contact KMA for assistance.