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Earned Sick Time – How Mass’ Question #4 Impacts Your Business

by: Eric (Nov 9 2014)

Question 4 – All You Need to Know:

Recently, the voters of Massachusetts approved a measure which will require all businesses in the state to provide Earned Sick Time to employees. The good news for employers; as of today, Earned Sick Time does not become a requirement until July 1, 2015. However, this has quickly come to the forefront for many small business owners. Last week, we had many proactive clients calling with high levels of curiosity – What does this mean for my business? Does this apply to me? What do I have to do? How am I going to accurately track Earned Sick Time?

The Long and the Short

If you have eleven or more employees, they will be able to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year.

If you have less than eleven employees, those employees can still earn and use up to 40 hours of sick time per calendar year, however, this earned time can be unpaid.

According to Question 4, employees can use Earned Sick Time:
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.
3.) To address the effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee’s dependent child.

How Do Employees Earn Their Sick Time?

This is perhaps the most frequent question we had from clients last week. There is no need to worry, though. Not every one of your employees will automatically have 40 hours of Earned Sick Time every year. An employee will earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employees can carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time to the next calendar year, but can not use more than 40 hours in one calendar year. It is important to note, employers would not have to pay employees for unused sick time at the end of their employment.

Examples:

  • Your employee works 10 hours per week. They will earn 4 hours of Earned Sick Time after 12 weeks of work. They will earn a little over 17 hours of Earned Sick Time in one year.
  • Your employee works 20 hours per week. They will earn 4 hours of Earned Sick Time after 6 weeks of work. They will earn a little over 34 hours of Earned Sick Time in one year.
  • Your employee works 30 hours per week. They will earn 4 hours of Earned Sick Time after 4 weeks of work. They will max-out, and earn 40 hours of Earned Sick Time in one year.
  • Your employee works 40 hours per week. They will earn 4 hours of Earned Sick Time after 3 weeks of work. They will max-out, and earn 40 hours of Earned Sick Time in one year.

 

The new law will not override employers’ obligations under any contract or benefit plan with more generous provisions. If you currently have a plan which provides as much paid time off, which can be used for the same purposes, and in the same conditions, you will not have to provide additional paid sick time.

How Do I Track This?

The first thing you’ll want to do is review your time-off accrual policies. If you already offer an appropriate plan, and you are taking advantage of our time-off accrual tracking, there shouldn’t be much you need to do besides continue to monitor your employees’ available balances. If you do not have a plan in place, we can help you stay in compliance with the law. Our time-off accrual services is an easy add-on, and can be set up at anytime.

We can automate your tracking by accruing the appropriate amount of time earned per payroll. Your employees tracked balances can be tied to a “Sick” pay code, and will be reduced whenever you submit “Sick” hours in your payroll. Not only can every employee’s available balance be displayed on their pay stub, but you can easily access each employee’s stats of earned, used and available time with our online payroll – whether it be PlatinumPay or PlatinumPay Xpress. Lastly, we can provide you with a summary report every payroll, giving you a one-page snapshot of all of your employees earned time totals.

To setup an automated plan to track Earned Sick Time, and stay in compliance with this new Massachusetts law, email Eric@1Payroll.com or call your payroll specialist at 978-346-9025.