Paid Sick Leave M.G.L. c. 149 §§ 148C & 148D


On November 4, 2014, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved paid sick leave for employees through a ballot initiative. The Paid Sick Leave law allows employees to earn paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2015 and becomes part of the already complex road map of employment rules and regulations that Massachusetts employers must navigate.

The law allows employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year under the following guidelines:

  • Employers with 11 or more employees must pay employees for the sick time while smaller employers can give unpaid time;
  • Employees can use the time (1) to care for a physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition affecting the employee or the employee's child, spouse, parent or parent of the spouse; (2) to attend routine medical appointments of the employee or the employee's child, spouse, parent or parent of the spouse; or (3) to address the effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee's child;
  • Employees would earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked and can begin using the time after a 90-day period of employment;
  • Employees can carry over up to 40 hours of unused time from year to year but may not use more than 40 hours in any given year;
  • Like the federal Family Medical Leave Act, employers can require medical certification for absences longer than 24 consecutive hours; however, the employer cannot delay payment because they have not received the paperwork;
  • The law also protects employees from retaliation for taking advantage of this benefit.

Employers must prepare for the implementation of this new law and determine how it will affect their existing practices and procedures. Penalties for violating this law are steep and could include punitive damages and attorney's fees. Individual officers or managers of the employer responsible for payroll or financial matters are also exposed to potential personal liability for violations of the new Paid Sick Leave law. Employers must also avoid direct or indirect retaliatory treatment of employees using paid sick leave. Retaliation claims are already a heavily litigated area in employment law.

If you have any questions about how you may be affected by this new law, contact Sharna Favuzza at DeMoura|Smith, LLP. You can reach Sharna at (617) 535-7531.

Categories: Blog Posts
Posted on Nov | 2014
Experienced Advocates | Effective Solutions