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Earned Sick Time

Notice of Employee Rights

Beginning July 1, 2015, Massachusetts employees have the right to earn and take sick leave from work.

Who Qualifies?

All employees in Massachusetts can earn sick time.

This includes full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.

How Is It Earned?

  • Employees earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours they work.
  • Employees can earn and use up to 40 hours per year if they work enough hours.
  • Employees with unused earned sick time at the end of the year can roll over up to 40 hours.
  • Employees begin earning sick time on their first day of work and may begin using earned sick time 90 days after starting work.

Will It Be Paid?

  • If an employer has 11 or more employees, sick time must be paid.
  • For employers with 10 or fewer employees, sick time may be unpaid.
  • Paid sick time must be paid on the same schedule and at the same rate as regular wages.

When Can It Be Used?

  • An employee can use sick time when the employee or the employee's child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse is sick, has a medical appointment, or to address the effects of domestic violence.
  • The smallest amount of sick time an employee can take is one hour.
  • Sick time cannot be used as an excuse to be late for work without advance notice of a proper use.
  • Use of sick time for other purposes is not allowed and may result in an employee being disciplined.

Can an Employer Have a Different Policy?

Yes. An employer can have their own sick leave or paid time off policy, so long as employees can use at least the same amount of time, for the same reasons, and with the same job-protections as under the Earned Sick Time Law.


  • Employees using earned sick time cannot be fired or otherwise retaliated against for exercising or attempting to exercise rights under the law.
  • Examples of retaliation include: denying use or delaying payment of earned sick time, firing an employee, taking away work hours, or giving the employee undesirable assignments.

Notice & Verification

  • Employees must notify their employer before they use sick time, except in a emergency.
  • Employers may require employees to use a reasonable notification system the employer creates.
  • If an employee is out of work for 3 consecutive days OR uses sick time within 2 weeks of leaving their job, an employer may require documentation from a medical provider.

Do You Have Questions?

Call the Fair Labor Division at 617-727-3465
E-Mail us at

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Office of the Attorney General

The Attorney General enforces the Earned Sick Time Law and regulations.

It is unlawful to violate any provision of the Earned Sick Time Law.

Violations of any provision of the Earned Sick time law, M.G.L. c. 149, § 148C, or these regulations, 940 CMR 33.00 shall be subject to paragraphs (1), (2), (4), (6) and (7) of subsection (b) of M.G.L. c. 149, §27C(b) and to § 150.

This notice is intended to inform.

Full text of the law and regulations are available at

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