A legislative committee has approved a redrafted mandated sick-time bill that would require companies with fewer than six employees to provide unpaid sick time, and all other employers to offer paid sick time.
Members of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development issued their positive report on An Act Establishing Earned Paid Sick Time on Thursday. The bill now faces additional review by other legislative committees.
AIM plans to review details of the bill and make a formal recommendation to member employers. The association testified against the original version of the bill, which would have required all Massachusetts employers to provide paid sick days.
The revised proposal would require businesses with fewer than six employees to offer up to 40 hours of unpaid time to workers. Businesses with six to 10 employees would be required to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick time, and businesses with more than 10 employees would be required to offer up to 56 hours of paid sick time.
Employees would be eligible for an hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employers with more than 10 workers would be required to comply with the proposal within six months, and all others would have a year to conform their policies to those required in the bill.
A summary of the bill indicates that employers would be prohibited from disciplining workers for using earned sick leave. Employers would also be barred from requiring workers who use paid sick time to take on additional shifts.
AIM and thousands of employers who already provide paid sick time have opposed sick-time mandates because they would take away the flexibility they need to design innovative benefit programs. Decisions regarding any benefit provided to employees should be left to the discretion of the employer based upon economic circumstances, the size of the company, the nature of the employment relationship with each employee and the competitive environment.
A mandate could also impose crippling productivity challenges for employers as they scramble to replace people on paid leave. An employer with 20 workers would face up to 140 lost work days per year due to state-mandated paid days alone, in addition to the holidays, vacations and personal days currently provided.
AIM members interested in more information about the pending employment-law bills may contact me at 617.262.1180, or firstname.lastname@example.org