AG Healey Celebrates Earned Sick Time Law and Regulations Officially Going Into Effect
Announces Second Round of Informational Sessions and Webinars to Help Businesses Comply with New Law That Gives One Million More Employees Access to Paid Sick Leave
BOSTON — Joined by some of the more than one million workers who will now receive paid sick leave, Attorney General Maura Healey celebrated the new Earned Sick Time law that officially takes effect tomorrow at an event held in front of the Irish Famine Memorial in Downtown Crossing. AG Healey also announced a second round of informational sessions and webinars to help businesses comply with the new law.
“This new law means that one million workers in Massachusetts will no longer be forced to make the difficult choice of working or taking care of a sick family member,” AG Healey said. “I’m proud of Massachusetts’ leadership on this issue, and I’m proud of our office’s role in helping to implement this new law. Our work, however, is not done and we’re holding another round of information sessions to make sure that all businesses have the support they need to successfully implement the law.”
Web-based information sessions have been scheduled for July 7 at 10 a.m., July 14 at 2 p.m., July 16 at 10 a.m., July 21 at 2 p.m. and July 23 at 10 a.m.. RSVP information will be posted on www.mass.gov/ago/earnedsicktime.
The regulations were finalized after the AG’s Office solicited extensive input in an unprecedented process that included seven public hearings and four listening sessions across the state. More than 1,100 people attended the meetings and the AG’s Office received over 75 formal comments and responded to hundreds of emails 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 Fair Labor Division and Community Engagement Division of the AG’s Office will be responsible for the second round of information sessions, many of which will be coordinated with local chambers of commerce. 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.
Photos from the event are available online: https://www.flickr.com/photos/massago/sets/72157655253934542