State lawmaker wants to rewrite earned sick time

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 1.2 million Massachusetts voters approved earned sick time last November.

Now, State Senator Michael Rodrigues has filed a bill to rewrite parts of the law.

Under the new bill, employers are allowed to make stricter requirements for when employees can call out sick. The earned sick time law that passed in November allowed employees to call out as long as they made “a good-faith effort to notify their employer in advance.”

Eric Chapin is a full-time employee of the Springfield Falcons. He told 22News he’s not sure he agrees with the new proposal. “If you get sick overnight it’s not something you can plan for. That’s something I don’t agree with, is making it too early in advance because sometimes you can’t avoid sickness,” he said.

Under the current law, employers with at least eleven employees are required to provide their employees with up to 40-hours of paid sick time. The proposal would exempt top executives and interns from that employee count.

The law passed in November allows employees to take time off in small increments, but in the bill version, employers would be able to determine appropriate increments of time off for their employees.

Timothy Murphy held a Lunch n Learn on Wednesday to explain the impact of the law to local employers. “Employees could take sick leave in very small increments of time, ten, fifteen minutes. I think that what’s troubling some employers too,” he said.

Dennis Lopata, the executive director at Life Center Car in Wilbraham was one of the employers at the event. He told 22News he favors the bill version of the provision. “The hour increments and things like that is very difficult for us to fill back in for somebody taking an hour here or two hours there. We try and do it in four hour increments,” he said.

The proposal would also require a doctor’s note after being absent for twelve consecutive hours.

If the bill passes, employees could still take time off for doctor’s appointments, and to take care of sick family members.

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