Earned sick time

Workers in Massachusetts have the right to take time off from work to take care of themselves and their families.

Most workers in Massachusetts have the right to earn and use up to 40 hours of job-protected sick time per year to take care of themselves and certain family members. Workers must earn at least one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

What can earned sick time be used for?

Workers may use earned sick time if they are ill or injured or have a routine medical appointment. They can also use earned sick time for their child, spouse, parent, or spouse's parent for the same purposes. In addition, workers may use earned sick time for themselves or their children to deal with domestic violence.

Is it paid or unpaid?

Employers with 11 or more employees must provide paid sick time. Employers with fewer than 11 employees must provide earned sick time, but it does not need to be paid.

How much notice do workers have to give?

Workers may need to tell their employers before they use sick time, except in an emergency.

Can the employer ask for proof?

Employers can ask for a doctor's note or other documentation only in limited circumstances. For example, they can ask for a doctor's note when an employee misses more than 3 consecutive workdays.

Employers are not allowed to ask for information about the illness or the details of the domestic violence.

Workers may need to fill out a form stating that they are using sick time for a covered purpose.

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What if the employer offers other paid time off?

Employers may have their own sick leave policy or other paid time off policy that employees use as sick leave, as long as the policy provides the same benefits and protections, or better.

How must employers notify workers?

Employers must post the Notice of Employee Rights in the workplace and either:

  • give a copy of the notice to each worker, or
  • include the employer's sick time policy in any handbook or manual.

The notice is available in several more languages: Spanish · Portuguese · Chinese · Haitian Creole · Vietnamese · Khmer · Lao · Russian · Italian.

 

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Where can I find more information?

You will find the answer to more questions in our FAQ and overview presentation, as well as in the law and regulations.

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