Final earned sick time regulations released

The Massachusetts Attorney General released final clarifications regarding the state’s earned sick time (EST) law that goes into effect July 1, 2015. Under the new law, all employers within the state must allow workers to accrue and use up to 40 hours of earned sick time each calendar year.

Some specific elements of the law include:

  • EST can run consecutively with federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time taken, as well as any other Massachusetts leave laws.
  • Travel time related to the purpose of the leave time is eligible for inclusion. For example, if leave is taken to care for a physical injury, the employee can include travel time to and from doctor’s appointments in the amount of leave taken.
  • Employees must pay leave time at the same hourly rate as the employee normally earns.
  • Employers may delay accrual of additional EST for employees who accrue 40 hours of unused time until the employee uses some the previously accrued time.
  • Employees are allowed to roll up to 40 hours of unused EST over into the next calendar year, except in cases where the employer “front loads” the sick time by automatically providing 40 hours at beginning of the calendar year.
  • Employers may choose to pay their employees for up to 40 hours of accrued, unused leave at the end of the calendar year.
  • If an employee experiences a break in service, he or she retains the ability to use accrued EST for up to 12 months, without the necessity of a new 90 day vesting period.

For questions about this law or its interpretation, contact our office to speak with an attorney.