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An Act Establishing Earned Paid Sick Time
Balancing the Needs of the Business Community and Workers
While Saving Money and Reducing the Spread of Disease
More than half of Massachusetts private sector workers cannot take any sick time to care for a sick child or elderly parent.
Nearly 1 million Massachusetts private sector jobs (over one-third of our workforce) lack a single guaranteed paid sick day.
Nearly 50% of all emergency room visits in Massachusetts could be prevented by improving access to primary care.[
"I have gone to work sick on too many occasions. Once I had to go to work even though I had pneumonia. I cannot afford to lose a single day’s pay or my job just because I’m sick."
- Mary, Boston area personal care assistant
Paid Sick Time Will Save Business Money by:
§ Reducing employee turnover, contagion and lost productivity – a $348 million annual benefit to Massachusetts employers.
§ Reducing on the job injuries directly caused by presenteeism, a phenomenon that describes employees who work while sick.
§ Reducing the spread of the flu, a contagious illness that accounts for 10-12% of all illness-related workplace absences.
Paid Sick Time Will Protect Public Health by:
§ Preventing over 33,000 flu infections in the workplace, saving workers and their families more than $16 million in lost wages and medical costs.
§ Preventing food and beverage contamination.
§ Preventing the spread of illnesses in daycare and school environments.
Paid Sick Time Will Save the Commonwealth Money by:
§ Reducing preventable emergency room visits.
§ Reducing health care costs related to the spread of highly contagious diseases.
§ Keeping low-wage workers employed and off of public assistance.
§ Reducing the increased health care costs attributable to highly stressed workers.
Key Provisions of the Paid Sick Time Act:
Sick time is accrued at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, commencing with the date-of-hire. During a 12 month period, sick time is earned as follows:
§ Employees in companies with fewer than 6 employees can earn up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per year;
§ Employees in companies with 6 to 10 employees can earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year;
§ Employees in companies with 11 or more employees can earn up to 56 hours of paid sick time per year.
Employees may use leave for:
§ To care for their child, spouse, parent or parent of spouse.
§ Illness, injury or health condition that requires staying home or professional
§ Attending routine medical appointments.
§ Absences for victims of domestic violence.
This bill is designed to balance employer and employee needs:
§ Employers may require medical certification for any absence that exceeds 24 consecutive scheduled work hours.
§ Employers with Paid Time Off policies that provide earned sick time accrual and usage consistent with the Act do not have to change their policies.
§ Seasonal employers have the option of providing earned sick time, paid or unpaid.
§ Employers and employees can agree to shift or hour changes if an employee does not wish to use earned sick time for their own health needs or that of a family member, such as child or elderly parent.
§ Employees are paid their usual hourly rate for sick time, but not less than the state’s minimum wage ($8/hour).
§ Employees cannot cash out unused earned sick time upon separation from employment or extended leave.
§ Unused sick time can be carried over at the end of a year, up to the maximum benefit provided under the Act for any 12 month period, unless an employer allows its employees to carry over more unused, earned sick time.
 Human Impact Partners, A Health Impact Assessment of the Healthy Families Act of 2009: Massachusetts Addendum – A Health Impact Assessment of An Act Establishing Paid Sick Days, 2009.
 Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Valuing Good Health in Massachusetts: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days, 2009.
 Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Paid Sick Days in Massachusetts: Containing Health Care Costs Through Prevention and Timely Treatment, 2009.
Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Paid Sick Days in Massachusetts: Containing Health Care Costs Through Prevention and Timely Treatment, 2009.
 CLASP, Responsive Workplaces: The business case for employment that values fairness and families, CLASP, 2007.