By: Ryan Quinn, UAW 2322 Servicing Representative
Following years of attempts to get the state legislature to pass earned sick leave legislation, Massachusetts unions have moved the fight to the ballot box. In a referendum vote set for the November 4 statewide election, Massachusetts voters will be able to vote for a law providing a minimum standard for paid sick days.
If Question 4 passes, employees will earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. Employees working for companies with 10 or fewer employees will be able to use the time without receiving pay for it, and employees at companies with 11 or more employees will be paid for their sick time. Employees will accrue sick time as soon as they are hired, and will be able to access their time after 90 days on the job. For those employees working for companies that have policies or collective bargaining agreements providing more time off than these minimums, nothing will change.
While this law will not directly change the working conditions for most UAW 2322 members, it is important that we support the referendum to help workers who either don’t have the protections of a contract or whose contracts don’t provide for time off. The current statutory minimums in the Family and Medical Leave Act are insufficient and leave too many workers with no protection from termination for using leave while sick or caring for a sick relative. For more information, see http://yeson4ma.org/ .