It’s that time of year when the changing temperatures cause people to get sick. However, instead of staying home to rest and get well, many people continue to go to work, spreading their cold and flu germs throughout the office. The Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law went into effect on July 1, 2015, but many people are still unsure as to how it works and/or if it applies to them. Here’s a quick refresher.
If you work in Massachusetts, you’re likely covered by the law. This law applies to most employees who work Massachusetts, whether you work full time, part time, seasonal, per diem, or are a temporary employee. Even if you don’t live in Massachusetts- if your primary place of work is Massachusetts, your employer must offer earned sick time to you, unless you fall under one of the exceptions.
You’re entitled to earn up to 40 hours per year of sick leave, but it might not be paid. All employers must provide earned sick time, but only employers with 11 or more employees must provide paid sick time. Employers with 10 employees or less must still provide earned sick time, however it may be unpaid.
You can use earned sick time for a variety of reasons to care for different people. Earned sick time can be used to care for yourself, your child, spouse, parents, or spouse’s parents. You can use this time if you or any of the family members mentioned here are sick, suffering from physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition that requires home care; or if professional medical diagnosis or preventative care is needed. This sick time may also be used to address the effects of domestic violence. Some common examples of using this time include but aren’t limited to staying home in bed because you’ve got a cold, taking your mom to her doctor’s appointment, going to court or meeting with a lawyer handling your domestic violence case, or taking a mental health day off from work to visit your therapist.
As cold and flu season rages on, please take care of yourself (and those around you) by using your earned sick time to get the rest you need to feel better.