Employers Not Required to Pay Unused Sick Time under the Wage Act

Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) provided some clarity for employers about accrued sick time. In Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority, (SJC-12296, Jan. 29, 2018) the Court held that accrued, but unused, sick time does not count as wages under the Massachusetts Wage Act, G.L. c. 149, § 148. As a result, unused sick time is not required to be paid to a departing employee. Under the Wage Act, employers are required to pay departing employees all wages, unused vacation time, and certain commissions due to the employee, and are subject to stiff penalties, including triple damages and attorney’s fees, if they fail to comply. Massachusetts employers, many of whom are required to provide paid sick time to their employees pursuant to the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, G.L. c. 149, § 148C, should benefit from this clarity.

For additional information about the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, please refer to our July 1, 2015 and May 22, 2015 blog posts. If you have any questions about the Massachusetts Wage Act or the Earned Sick Time Law, contact one of Conn Kavanaugh’s experienced employment lawyers.

ALEXIS P. THERIAULT

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