The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled in Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority that payment for accrued, unused sick time is not a “wage” under the state wage act, M.G.L. c. 149, s. 148, and therefore a failure to pay for sick time upon a termination of employment is not subject to the Act’s treble damages and other remedies. Importantly, the state’s highest court also reinforced its position that it is not inclined to expand the reach of the Wage Act to types of compensation beyond the express language of the statute.
Massachusetts employers need to take heed that the safe harbor provision in the Earned Sick Time law ends on December 31, 2015. By the start of the New Year, Massachusetts employers will need to strictly comply with the Sick Time Law or it will not be a very happy New Year.
On June 19th, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) issued final regulations for the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, which goes into effect next week on July 1, 2015. The final regulations, available here, differ in material ways from the proposed regulations and address a number of compliance issues that employers have raised in public hearings and by public comment. A brief summary of some key differences in the final regulations are addressed below.