Public input sought on earned sick time law

In 2014, Massachusetts voters went to the polls on Election Day and voted in favor of a law requiring all employers — except municipalities and small private employers — to provide paid sick leave benefits to employees. The MTA strongly supported the successful ballot initiative.

The new law is scheduled to take effect on July 1. Attorney General Maura Healey is in the process of drafting regulations and has asked the public to present “data, views and arguments” regarding the law’s implementation.

Most MTA members already receive paid sick leave under their collective bargaining agreements, but some members do not. Higher education adjunct faculty, for example, are not currently paid sick leave and will benefit directly from the new law.

The MTA Legal Services Division has spoken to staff members at the Office of the Attorney General about the effect of the law on adjunct faculty and, with feedback from our higher education affiliates, is preparing written comments that it will submit no later than June 10.

Public comments will focus on ensuring that:

  • The “hours of work” for an adjunct include all of an adjunct’s working time and not just in-class teaching time.
  • Time accrued be “portable” among public higher education institutions and carry over in the event of unexpected gaps in employment.
  • Adjuncts not be charged for sick leave if they reschedule a class or provide it online.
  • All affected employees receive proper notice of accrued time from the employer through the payroll system or another appropriate process.

The Office of the Attorney General has scheduled public hearings around the state. Four hearings are coming up soon:

Springfield
May 29
10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Third Floor Community Room
1350 Main Street
Springfield

Berkshire County
May 29
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Pittsfield City Hall
Council Chambers
70 Allen Street
Pittsfield

South Coast
June 1
1:30-4:30 p.m.
Hearing Room
1 Government Center
Fall River

Worcester
June 5
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Main Library
Saxe Room
3 Salem Street
Worcester

The earned sick time law can be read online at http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/earned-sick-time-law.pdf.