Client Bulletin #560

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has issued the final regulations to the Earned Sick Time Law, M.G.L. c. 149, § 148C, which will become effective on July 1, 2015.

We have previously reported on the Earned Sick Time Law here and here. After conducting public hearings and accepting comments, the Attorney General made a number of substantive changes to the proposed regulations. Here are several new provisions contained in the final regulations that are beneficial to employers:

  • Employers may require earned sick time to run concurrently with time off provided by other leave laws, including the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, the Massachusetts Domestic Violence Leave Act and the Small Necessities Leave Act.
  • The notice section no longer provides that employees need to make a “good faith effort” to provide advance notice before using sick time. Instead, employees are required to provide advance notice for the need for earned sick time, except in emergencies.
  • The following provisions have been added: “Earned sick time cannot be used as an excuse to be late for work without an authorized purpose...,” and employees “may not accept a specific shift assignment with the intention of calling out sick for all or part of that shift.”
  • There are now additional circumstances in which employers are permitted to require the employee to produce documentation to support the need for earned sick time and additional types of documentation that employers may require.
  • It is clear that holiday pay incentives that provide additional compensation for working on the days immediately before and after a holiday are permissible.
  • Additional guidance is included regarding the requirements for alternative paid leave policies, including vacation policies and lump sum policies.

A comparison of the proposed regulations and the final regulations is available here.

Employers are required to post a notice prepared by the Attorney General and either provide a copy of the notice to all eligible employees or include the employer’s earned sick time policy or paid leave policy in a manual or handbook. The Attorney General’s notice is available here. If you have any questions regarding the Earned Sick Time Law or need assistance revising or preparing a policy, please contact any attorney in Constangy’s Boston Office or the Constangy attorney of your choice.

For a printer-friendly copy, click here

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