On May 1, 2015, we reported on proposed regulations to the Massachusetts paid sick leave law, which becomes effective on July 1, 2015. The regulations have not yet been adopted, and in light of the uncertainty about many provisions of the law, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has issued a “Safe Harbor for Employers with Existing Paid Time Off Policies.” Under the safe harbor, any employer with a paid time off policy in existence as of May 1, 2015, which provides employees with the right to use at least 30 hours of paid time off per year, will be deemed in compliance with the new sick leave law. The safe harbor will expire on December 31 of this year, and as of January 1, 2016, all covered employers will be required to comply with the provisions of the new law. Our November 10, 2014 Advisory summarizes the law’s provisions and requirements.

The proposed regulations to the paid sick leave law, which would clarify employer obligations under law, remain under review by the Massachusetts Attorney General and during the comment period have been subject to considerable objection. For this reason, and because the law carries the potential for substantial penalties for non-compliance, several employers and professional organizations have urged postponement of the law’s effective date. Notwithstanding these objections, the law’s effective date remains July 1, 2015 and employers should prepare to comply.

The AGO has also published the earned sick time notice on its website.