The Law @ Work

Attorney General Issues Final Earned Sick Leave Regulations

by Kimberly A. Klimczuk

The Massachusetts’ Attorney General has just issued long-awaited final regulations interpreting Massachusetts’ Earned Sick Leave Law. The proposed regulations resolve issues such as whether earned sick leave can run concurrently with FMLA leave or other types of unpaid leave (it can) and whether employees really do, as the proposed regulations had suggested, earn sick leave while taking leave (they do not).

However, the final regulations contradict the Attorney General’s recently-released model notice, which had suggested that employers would be able to request documentation of a need for sick leave after three days of absence.  Although the final regulations do provide additional circumstances where an employer may request documentation, they state that an absence generally must exceed three consecutive work days before documentation can be required.

Although we will be posting a more detailed explanation of the final regulations on Monday, here are some of the things clarified in the regulations:

  • Sick leave is not earned while an employee is taking sick leave (as suggested in the proposed regulations)
  • Sick leave can run concurrently with FMLA and other similar leaves of absence
  • Policies that state that employees will not receive holiday pay unless they work the day before and the day after a holiday are permissible
  • An employee’s pattern of taking leave on days before or after weekends, vacations or holidays can be evidence of misuse of leave
  • Employers that “front-load” sick time do not need to track accruals or carry over leave from one year to the next

Stay tuned for more details on Monday.  The final regulations are available on the Attorney General’s website at


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