The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing is considering An Act Establishing Earned Paid Sick Time (H. 3995), which would require companies with fewer than six employees to provide unpaid sick time, and all other employers to offer paid sick time. The bill is an amended version of the Paid Sick Days Act (H. 1398 / S. 930), and it was reported favorably by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development on March 19.
The proposal would require that workers be eligible for an hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. The bill does not apply to seasonal workers. A worker in a business with more than 10 employees would be able to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours annually. A worker in a business with six to 10 employees would earn paid sick time at the same rate, up to 40 hours annually. A worker in a business with fewer than six employees would earn one hour of unpaid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours of unpaid time annually. Employers would be prohibited from disciplining workers for using earned sick time and they would also be barred from requiring workers who used paid sick time to take on additional shifts.
Variations of this legislation have been filed since 2004. Earlier versions of the bill would have required all companies to offer paid sick time, regardless of size or other benefits offered. The revised bill would allow businesses to meet the mandate as long as they provide an equal or greater number of hours of other forms of paid time off (i.e., vacation).
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