How Will the New Paid Sick Leave Law Affect Massachusetts Small Businesses

by | 6 Jul, 2015

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On July 1, 2015, the Paid/Earned Sick Leave Law took effect. The new law requires employers to provide 1 hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours employees work, which in turn allows employees up to 40 hours of paid time off each year. Time begins accruing after the hiring date and cannot be used until 90 days after employment. The paid time off allows employees to carry up to 40 hours of unused time over to the next calendar year.

What about small businesses?

For small business owners, requiring paid sick leave could effectively double the cost of a job or position. For example, if you have an employee getting paid for being sick and their position requires a replacement, you’re now paying twice for that same job. For larger companies, this may not be a huge deal, but for many small businesses, the cost of two employees at a time can have a large impact on the bottom line.

What about Safe Harbor?

With the new regulations comes a option for businesses that already have paid time off policies in place called Safe Harbor.  Under the safe harbor policy, employers with existing paid time off policies as of May 1, 2015, will be deemed in compliance with the new sick leave law. That means small businesses may not have to offer the 40 hours of paid time off if they have a paid sick leave policy already in place. However, that option won’t last forever. The safe harbor will expire on December 31, 2015, and require that all covered employers comply with the provisions of the new law starting January 1, 2016.

It’s important to be prepared for the new Paid/Earned Sick Leave Act. As a small business owner myself, I have been doing a lot of research about the new law. I found this educational infographic, created by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, to be very informative. The infographic addresses the law’s qualifications, how it works and who to contact should you have any questions.

Navigate is a full-service, New England-based PEO and HR services provider and can help with all your outsourced HR services. If you’re looking for ways to increase productivity and profitability for your small business, please feel free to reach out to us to see how we can help.

Tom DiSilva
Tom DiSilva has been providing professional human resource services for over 30 years. As the CEO of Navigate PEO, he actively partners with organizations of all sizes in the Greater New England area and across the country to help their businesses grow. He has expertise in HR and Labor Management, offering guidance and support for key areas of business such as negotiations, operations management, employee coaching, and employee benefits design. He is an active member of The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), Professional Association of Co-Employers (PACE), and The American Payroll Association (APA). He is deeply committed to giving back to the community both personally and through Navigate Cares, which provides support for several nonprofit organizations such as the USO, The Boys & Girls Club, and the 3Point Foundation.

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Disclaimer: this article does not represent expert advice and is provided for informational purposes. Please get in touch if you would like expert HR advice.