sick timeDo you think the Attorney General’s office was the prepared for so much feedback regarding the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time (EST) Law?

This week the Attorney General’s office participated in seminars regarding the MA Earned Sick Leave Law which is set to take effect on July 1, 2015. Many employers attended with the hopes of receiving clarification but also the opportunity to share their opinions on the impact of the new regulations. It was an informative gathering but it is clear that there are still so many unanswered questions. The AG’s office freely admitted that there is vagueness in the law and that additional FAQ’s and guidance is needed but not yet available. This left many attendees frustrated and asking for a delay given the perceived lack of thought for a law going into effect in just over a month. The AG’s office has provided a link to the presentation offered, “Paying Earned Sick Time”. Additionally, a cheat sheet from a local attorney that also participated in yesterday’s discussion, has been posted, “Tocci & Lee’s Top Ten Takeaways”.

As mentioned in past posts, there is an open forum being held on Friday, June 5th from 1pm-4pm at the Tilden Arts Center at Cape Cod Community College (2240 Iyannough Road, West Barnstable, MA 02668). This open forum will provide attendees with the opportunity to ask questions, provide opinions, and gain more clarity on this new law. Additional opportunities for listening sessions and public hearings are provided on the AG’s website. We encourage attendance given the impact this will have on individual businesses in our community and the workforce of the Cape and Islands.

Some questions that were raised include:

  • Does this apply to minors and temporary or seasonal workers?
    • Yes, it currently applies to all employees but there is discussion about removing the mandate from employees that are minors?
  • Does this apply to temporary guest workers on a J1 or H2B visa?
    • Response: Yes, it applies to all employees.
  • Does it have to be paid out on termination?
    • Response: No.
  • Does a break in service include seasonal employees or just those involved in a temporary layoff or a leave of absence?
    • Response: Presently there isn’t better guidance on who this does or doesn’t include.  We are aware of the question.

We eagerly await further guidance and will share more information when it is available. RogersGray will be hosting a live presentation to review the regulations once more information is shared. For those of you on Cape Cod and throughout the Massachusetts South Shore, we hope that you are able to attend the open forum today, June 5th.