AG Healey Files Final Regulations in Support of Law Providing One Million More Employees Access to Paid Sick Leave
Final Regulations for Earned Sick Time Law Now Available on AGO Website; Education and Outreach Effort to Continue into the Fall
BOSTON — After soliciting extensive public input and working closely with businesses and workers, Attorney General Maura Healey today published final regulations to implement the new Earned Sick Time law, a law providing one million more workers in the state with access to sick leave for the first time.
The Earned Sick Time law was passed by voters on the November ballot and goes into effect on July 1. The final regulations, along with the law and other guidance materials are now available on the Office’s website.
“Nearly one million of our most vulnerable, lowest paid workers, will no longer need to worry about whether they can afford to take a day off if they are sick or to care for a loved one,” AG Healey said. “Hundreds of employers and workers contributed to our effort to write balanced, clear, and workable rules. We are committed to partnering with businesses and employees to help them understand their rights and responsibilities and ensure that the law is successfully implemented statewide.”
The final regulations are informed by the feedback provided by employers and workers during 11 public hearings and listening sessions around the state. More than 1,100 people attended these meetings. During the public comment period, the AG’s Office received over 75 formal comments and responded to hundreds of emailed questions regarding the new law.
The Office’s final regulations include clarifications and adjustments to provisions regarding the accrual, use and payment of Earned Sick Time, employer size, notice requirements, and rules for requiring medical documentation. The final regulations also include clarifications on when employees can make up time instead of using it and how employers with existing leave policies can keep their own plans while complying with the law.
Even before the final regulations were filed, AG Healey announced a Safe Harbor provision, which grants employers who already offer paid time off policies to their employees until January 1, 2016 to come into full compliance with the new law.
The Community Engagement Division of the AG’s Office will be holding outreach events and information sessions for employers across different sectors and for the public and employers on the new law into the fall. A more detailed list of the upcoming outreach events will be made available in the coming days and posted on the AG’s website.
Nearly, one in three workers in Massachusetts do not currently have access to sick leave or any paid time off, the vast majority of whom work in low-wage jobs. More than half of service industry workers do not have access to a single sick day.
Massachusetts will be joining California and Connecticut as the only states with an earned sick time law.
Earned sick time can be used for routine or emergency medical visits and travel time, to care for an ill family member or to address issues of domestic violence.