Recently, the Innovator’s Counsel notified you of the new Massachusetts statute regarding earned sick time (previous post), which is going into effect on July 1, 2015. However, the Office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts, the office tasked with the enforcement of the new statute, recently released a notification informing the public that this year will be a “Transition Year,” as it relates to the earned sick time statute. The Office of the Attorney General announced a Safe Harbor period that will be applicable for many Massachusetts businesses. During the Safe Harbor period qualifying businesses will be granted additional time to implement the changes required by the new statute.
The Safe Harbor period will run from July 1, 2015 through the end of the calendar year. Any employer who was already providing, as of May 1, 2015, its employees with the right to use paid time off during this year, in an amount equal to at least 30 hours, will be deemed compliant with the new earned sick time statute relative to those employees and/or any other employees to which the business extends the same benefit. In order to remain in compliance during the Safe Harbor period, any paid time off, including sick time used by an employee during this period, must be job protected leave subject to the new statute’s non-retaliation and non-interference provisions.
Any employer who as of May 1, 2015 did not offer paid time off in an amount equal to 30 hours must still comply with the statute, as of July 1, 2015. If you wish to read the notice issued by the Office of the Attorney General it can be found at the following link: http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/workplace/earned-sick-time/est-safe-harbor.pdf
If you have any questions or concerns as to how the Safe Harbor provision will impact your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.