With the July 1 effective date for the new Massachusetts earned sick time law looming, the anxiety level of employers is on the rise. Proposed regulations for implementing the law are yet to be finalized, and payroll providers are still working through how they will track earned time. But, thanks to a temporary Safe Harbor announced by Attorney General Maura Healey today, some employers are breathing a sigh of relief … for the time being.
Under the new Safe Harbor, employers with a paid time off policy in place by May 1, 2015 that provides at least thirty hours of paid time off during the 2015 calendar year are deemed to be in compliance with the earned sick time law. In order to remain in compliance, employers must observe the earned sick time law’s non-retaliation and non-interference provisions with respect to any paid time off taken by employers between July 1 and December 31.
The reprieve is only temporary, however. Any employers operating under this Safe Harbor must adjust their paid time off policies to comply with the provisions of the earned sick time law.
Up until now, Attorney General Healey has denied business leaders’ requests to postpone the effective date of the earned sick time law. As recently as May 5, Attorney General Healy reiterated her opposition to any delay in the implementation of the law. As reported by the Boston Globe, the Attorney General’s reversal “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.”