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Paid-leave requirements delayed for employers that offer sick time

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is pictured in her office at One Ashburton Place.Jim Davis/The Boston Globe/Globe Staff

Employers that already offer paid sick time to their workers will have until the end of the year to fully adjust their policies to conform with the new earned sick time law that goes into effect July 1, Attorney General Maura Healey was set to announce Monday.

The one new regulation that all companies must implement in July mandates that an employee cannot lose his or her job, or be otherwise punished, for taking sick leave.

The provision offers “much-needed breathering room for employers,” that need more time to adjust their payroll systems, according to the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which appealed to Healey to delay the law.


Under the new law, employees earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours they work. Companies with 11 or more workers are required to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick time a year, and smaller businesses must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time.

Employers have expressed concern that they won’t have time to put in place the many regulations in the complex law by July. The law applies to temporary, part-time, and seasonal employees, as well as full-time workers; seasonal employees who return to the same employer in less than a year’s time will be able to carry over all his unused sick time accrued within that year. In addition, employees who work in multiple states will be able to count their non-Massachusetts hours toward their accrual of earned sick time.

“It gives the businesses and non-profits that have already been offering earned sick time to their employees slightly more time to update their systems without fear of legal action,” Healey said in a statement. “It is a reasonable step that gives all workers access to earned sick time by July 1 while giving businesses that have already been doing the right thing more time as they move into compliance with the new law.”


Katie Johnston can be reached at katie.johnston@globe.com . Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.