What Every Massachusetts Employer Needs to Know About the Sick Time Law

What Every Massachusetts Employer Needs to Know About the Sick Time Law

The state of Massachusetts has a Sick Time Law that requires most employers to offer paid or unpaid sick time to their employees. This sick time can be used to care for oneself, a child, a parent, or a spouse in their time of illness. The sick time can also be used for primary care and other doctor’s appointments.

The purpose of the Massachusetts Sick Time Law is to protect the jobs and wages of employees who need to take time off work for their own health care or the health care needs of a loved one. Sick time can be either accrued over time at the rate of 1 hour of sick time per 30 hours worked, or the employer can opt to give an equivalent amount of sick time at the beginning of the month or benefit year.

Here are some commonly asked questions about the Massachusetts Sick Time Law.

What Employers Must Participate in the Sick Time Law?

Nearly all private employers are required to participate in the Massachusetts Sick Time Law. However, if your organization has fewer than 10 employees, accrued sick time can be unpaid. In this case, the sick time accrued must be given to the employee if they or a loved one becomes ill, but that time does not have to be paid.

To determine how many employees you have and whether or not sick time must be paid time off, you must count all employees including full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal. For example, if you typically have ten employees but hire five seasonal employees every year, you must pay for sick time because you have a total of 15 employees during the previous benefit year.

What Employees are Covered by the Sick Time Law?

All privately employed employees are covered by the Sick Time Law if their principal place of employment is in Massachusetts. For example, if your organization is located in Massachusetts but your employee works primarily in another state, you may not be required to give them paid sick time.

On the other hand, if you have a remote employee who telecommutes for your Massachusetts-based company, that employee does have to be covered by the sick time law. This is because their principal place of employment is still in Massachusetts, even if they themselves never physically enter the state.

There are some exceptions that make sick time more complicated. If you run a construction company, for example, and your employees’ principle place of work changes frequently and is most often outside the state of Massachusetts, you only need to provide accrued sick time for the hours worked in Massachusetts.

Are You Operating in Compliance with Massachusetts Sick Time Law?

You may believe that you are in compliance with Massachusetts sick time law, but it is in your best interests to be absolutely certain. Failure to participate in MA Sick Time appropriately for your business type and size can lead to legal action and penalties. Our firm can evaluate your sick time policies to ensure that you are operating within the law. Contact us today for more information.