Paid Sick Leave is on the Move–Up Next Massachusetts

The sick pay movement has another notch on its belt for a resounding win in Massachusetts. 60% of the voters approved the measure known as Question 4 on Tuesday making Massachusetts the third state in the union behind Connecticut and California to mandate sick leave. Employers with 11 or more workers have to provide paid sick leave, those with 10 or less do not have to provide paid sick leave but must let the workers take unpaid time off in the same situations. And it is illegal for companies to punish workers for exercising their rights under the new law.

The details are as follows: Employers must provide their workers with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work. It is capped at 40 hours of leave for the year. It is effective July 1, 2015. Workers can use the time when they are ill, injured or need to tend to a medical condition. They may also use it when a spouse, child or parent needs to be cared for. Employees can begin to use their earned sick leave on the 90th day of employment. They can carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick leave in the next calendar year but may not use more than 40 in a calendar year. Employers may require the employee to certify their need for sick time if they use more than 24 consecutively schedule work hours. Employees need to make a good faith effort to give employers advance notification if the need to use the earned sick leave is foreseeable such as doctor appointments.

I have been on my soap box about mandated sick leave for years. Of course I am all for it. But why can’t we do it like other “industrialized nations” and have one federal law that mandates sick leave or just PTO. We are the only country out of 140 leading nations that does not give workers paid sick leave on the national level. Instead we get it either on the state level or even worse on the city level. This is what creates the burden on employers, or as I see it, payroll professionals. Not that I have to track one sick leave law but that I have to track it state by state and city by city.

But those that champion mandatory sick leave (and I am one of them) including labor unions and groups devoted to working women and mothers are on a roll and since they can’t get anything done in Congress they are taking their cause to the “streets” and winning there.

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