Client AlertsNewsMassachusetts Voters Pass Mandatory Paid Sick Time – updated

November 5, 2014

Massachusetts Ballot Question 4 on mandatory sick leave passed.  This change to the law makes Massachusetts one of only a few states that requires paid sick time.  Under the law, employers with 11 or more employees are required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, while smaller employers must provide 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.  The proposed law takes effect on July 1, 2015.


  • An employee could use earned sick time if required to miss work in order (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 a spouse; (2) to attend routine medical appointments of the employee or the employee’s child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse; or (3) to address the effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee’s dependent child.

  • Employees would earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked beginning on July 1, 2015, but cannot use earned sick time until 90 days after hire.

  • Employees could carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time to the next calendar year, but could not use more than 40 hours in a calendar year.

  • Employers with similar or more generous policies in place would not be required to provide additional paid sick time.

  • Employers would not have to pay employees for unused sick time at the end of employment.

  • Employers would be required to post the notice in a conspicuous location and to provide a copy to employees.

  • Employers would be prohibited from interfering with or retaliating based on an employee’s exercise of earned sick time rights, and from retaliating based on an employee’s support of another employee’s exercise of such rights.

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