sick timeAs you are likely already aware from our previous blog posts AND the news AND your most recent Google Alerts… the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law is set to go into effect on July 1, 2015. New guidance released last week offers some relief to certain employers. Massachusetts has issued a “Safe Harbor” Provision, the highlights of which are provided below. Additionally MA will hold hearings in various locations throughout the state to listen to feedback from voters. We have listed some of the locations for those hearings below and have included a link to the full list.

Additional guidance and FAQ’s can be found on the state’s Attorney General site here,  Earned Sick Time.


“Safe Harbor” Provision

  • For the period of July 1 to December 31, 2015, any employer with a paid time off policy in existence as of May 1, 2015, providing to employees the right to use at least 30 hours of paid time off during the calendar year 2015, will be in compliance with the law with respect to those employees and to any other employees to whom the use of at least 30 hours of paid time off under the same conditions are extended.
  • To remain in compliance, any paid time off (including sick time), used by an employee from July 1 to December 31, 2015, must be job protected leave subject to the law’s non-retaliation and non-interference provisions. In all other respects, during this transition period, the employer may continue to administer paid time off under policies in place as of May 1, 2015.
  • On or before January 1, 2016, all employers operating under this safe harbor provision must adjust their paid time off policy to conform with Massachusetts earned sick time law.

A Quick Refresher on the MA Earned Sick Time Law…

Under the state’s earned sick leave law, most employers will be required to provide up to 40 hours of paid or unpaid sick time per calendar year to employees, as follows:

  • Employers that employ 11 or more employees must provide paid sick time.
    • Note: All employees performing work for compensation on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis are to be counted.
  • All employees not entitled to paid sick time under the law are generally entitled to unpaid sick time.

Employers generally must provide a minimum of one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked by an employee. Under the law, an employee begins accruing earned sick time starting with his or her date of hire or on July 1, 2015, whichever is later.

An employee is generally not entitled to use accrued earned sick time until the 90th calendar day following commencement of his or her employment. On and after this 90 day period, an employee may generally use earned sick time as it accrues.


As the regulations released are undergoing public comment, it is important to also attend the State’s hearings on this topic, please consider the following locations or visit this site to access the full list – Hearings.

Friday, May 29, 2015
Springfield Public Hearing
Location: One Financial Plaza
1350 Main Street (3rd Floor Community Room), Springfield, MA 01103
Time: 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Lawrence Listening Session
Location: Lawrence Public Library’s Sargent Auditorium
51 Lawrence Street, Lawrence MA 01841
Time: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Monday, June 1, 2015
Fall River Public Hearing
Location: City Hall
1 Government Center (The Hearing Room), Fall River, MA 02722
Time: 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Friday, June 5, 2015
Cape Cod Earned Sick Time Listening Session
Location: Tilden Arts Center Cape Cod Community College
2240 Iyannough Road West Barnstable
Time: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

If you have any questions or comments on the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law, contact: