Proposed legislation known as the “Paid Sick Days Act,” currently pending in the Massachusetts Senate and House, would entitle workers to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year. The proposal is comprised of two identical bills filed in January 20111. Representative Kay Khan (D-Newton) introduced H 1398 in the House and Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville) introduced S 930 in the Senate. The bills are currently awaiting a hearing in the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.
The proposal would allow employees to use their earned sick days to stay home to “address their own health needs and the health needs of their families.” Employees could use paid sick time to attend routine medical appointments or “to address the psychological, physical or legal effects of domestic violence.” The proposal would make it unlawful for an employer to take any adverse action against an employee because the employee requested or took paid sick leave. As currently crafted, the proposed legislation would apply to virtually all employers in the Commonwealth, as it contains no exemption for small businesses.
On April 12, according to the State House News Service, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne Goldstein expressed support for the proposed bills, saying that the proposal was a “basic right.” Opponents, on the other hand, contend that requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave would endanger already struggling small businesses.
1The full text of House Bill 1398 can be found at http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H01398. The full text of Senate Bill 930 can be found at http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/Senate/S00930.