Employment Laws to Be Aware of as Your Business Grows – Part 4


(Last Updated On: July 13, 2023)

People at an office environment

As your Massachusetts-based business expands and your team along with it, you must ensure that you’re in compliance with all relevant employment laws. We’ve previously discussed laws that impact employers as they hire their first, second , and sixth employees. The next milestone occurs when you onboard your eleventh employee and you’ll need to provide paid sick time.   

The Basics of Earned Sick Time 

Massachusetts law gives most employees the right to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers can use up to 40 hours of job-protected sick time per year when they are ill or injured, have a routine medical appointment, or need to care for a child, spouse, parent, or spouse’s parent in the same situations. It can also be used to manage issues related to domestic violence affecting the worker or their children. 

Paid Earned Sick Time 

If you’ve recently grown your business to 11 or more employees, you must begin providing paid sick time. Smaller Massachusetts companies must also provide earned sick time to most employees, but it does not need to be paid if they have fewer than 11 workers.  

Notice and Verification 

Employers may request that their employees inform them before using their sick time unless there is an emergency. Though it can be tempting, employers must be careful about requesting verification like a doctor’s note or other proof of illness or injury. They may do so under certain circumstances – such as when an employee has been absent for more than three consecutive workdays. However, employers cannot request information about the nature of the illness or the specifics of any domestic violence situation. 

Alternative Paid Time Off Policies 

Your business might already have its own sick leave policy or other paid time off policies that can be used as sick leave. If so, it’s crucial to ensure these policies offer the same (or better) benefits and protections required by law.  

Employer Notification Responsibilities 

You have a responsibility to make your employees aware of their right to earn sick time. This involves posting the Notice of Employee Rights in the workplace and either giving each worker a copy of the notice or including your company’s sick time policy in an employee handbook or manual. 

Ensuring Compliance with Earned Sick Time Law 

Understanding and complying with Massachusetts employment law is crucial as your business expands. To ensure you’re up to date with all necessary policies and procedures, consider seeking professional legal advice. Call us at 617-820-5250 to help you safeguard your business and your employees’ rights as you grow. 

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