Northampton considering adopting earned sick time law

20% of part-time city workers don't have earned sick time

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Northampton may become one of first cities in the state to adopt the Massachusetts earned sick time law for city employees.

In November of last year, Massachusetts voters approved the earned sick time law.

It’ll take affect on July 1st, but the law only affects employers of 11 or more people and it does not include municipal employees, so cities and towns that want to offer these benefits have to vote to adopt them.

That’s what the Northampton City Council will be debating Thursday night. About 80% of cities already have sick time policies through collective bargaining agreements.

Still, one City Councilor wants to adopt the state law to expand the benefits to the 20% of part-time city workers who don’t have earned sick time.

They could earn up to 40 hours each year to be used for a personal illness or to care for a loved one.

“It’s a moral issue to start with. It’s the mark of a good society to take care of your workers and treat them fairly. It’s also a public health issue and ultimately it will save money in terms of keeping healthcare costs down for the city,” said City Councilor Ryan O’Donnell, Ward 3, Northampton.

O’Donnell admits they’d have to work out how the law would affect the current bargaining agreement already in place.

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