Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Policy for Casual Employees

Accrual of Sick Time

All casual employees of Amherst College shall be eligible to accrue and use paid sick time.

Sick time accrues at the rate of one (1) hour for every thirty (30) hours worked per benefit year up to a maximum of 40 hours.  The benefit year for Amherst College runs from July 1st through June 30th.

Student employees will earn sick time only on hours worked during summer employment, not during the academic year.

Use of Sick Time

Employees may use up to 40 hours of accrued sick time per benefit year.  Accrual of sick time begins on the employee’s first date of actual work, but employees may not use such earned sick time until 90 calendar days after their start date.

Sick time is provided to allow employees to:

  1.   care for  the employee’s own physical or mental illness, injury, or other medical care for a condition that requires home, preventative, or professional care;
  2.   care for a child, parent, spouse, or parent of a spouse who is suffering from a physical or mental illness, injury, or other medical condition that requires home, preventative or professional care;
  3.   attend routine medical and dental appointments for themselves or for their child, parent, spouse, or parent of a spouse;
  4.   address the psychological, physical, or legal effects of domestic violence; or
  5.   travel to and from an appointment, a pharmacy, or other location related to the purpose for which the time was taken.

Use of sick time for other purposes is not allowed and may result in an employee being disciplined.

Employees may not use sick time if the employee is not scheduled to be at work during the period of use.  An employee may not accept a specific shift assignment with the intention of calling out sick for all or part of that shift.

Earned sick time may be used for full or partial day absences. The smallest amount of sick time that an employee can take is one-quarter hour, or 15 minutes.  Time used should be reported under the earnings code “ACS”.

Up to 40 hours of unused sick time may be carried over into the following benefit year.

Absence Notification Procedures

If an employee needs to be absent, to be late or to leave work early (for purposes that are permissible under the earned sick time law), the employee must give advance notice to his or her supervisor, except in an emergency.

Employees are required to notify their supervisor of an absence in accordance with the department’s notification rules.

If the absence is foreseeable (for example, if the employee will be absent to attend a previously scheduled appointment), the employee must provide up to seven day’s advance notice unless the employee learns of the need to use earned sick time within a shorter period of time.

If the absence is not foreseeable, for example, due to an accident or sudden illness, the employee must provide notice to his or her supervisor at as soon as practicable before the start of the employee’s shift.

If an employee is going to be absent on multiple days, the employee or the employee’s surrogate (e.g., spouse, adult family member or other responsible party) must provide notice of the expected duration of the leave or, if unknown, provide notice of continuing absence on a daily basis, unless the circumstances make such notice unreasonable.

Documentation of Use of Sick Time *

The College will generally require a doctor’s note or other documentation to support the use of sick time if the absence:

  1.   exceeds 24 consecutively scheduled work hours or three consecutive days on which the employee is scheduled to work;
  2.   occurs within two weeks prior to an employee’s final scheduled day of work the case of temporary employees); or
  3.   occurs after four unforeseeable and undocumented absences within a three month period.

Required documentation must be submitted within seven days of the absence.  Additional time will be allowed for good cause shown.

If an employee fails to timely comply with the sick time law’s documentation requirements Amherst College may recoup the sick time paid from future wages.

* Where documentation is required, employees who do not have health care coverage through a private insurer, the Massachusetts Healthcare Connector and related insurers, or an employer that provides health insurance to employees may provide a signed, written statement evidencing the need for the use of the earned sick time, without being required to explain the nature of the illness, in lieu of documentation by a health care provider.


Amherst College Expectations Regarding Attendance

Employees should remember that regular, reliable attendance and timeliness is expected.

If an employee commits fraud or abuse by engaging in an activity that is not consistent with allowable purposes for sick time, the employee may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination of employment.

If an employee is exhibiting a clear pattern of taking leave on days just before or after a weekend, vacation, or holiday, Amherst College may discipline the employee for misuse of earned sick time, unless the employee provides verification of authorized use.

Payout of Sick Time

Sick time is not payable on termination of employment.

Interaction with Other Types of Leave

If any time off covered under this policy is also covered under FMLA, Parental Leave, Domestic Violence Leave, SNLA leave, or other leave of absence policies, sick time shall run concurrently with such leave.

Please contact the Office of Human Resources at 542-2372 if you have questions relating to the new law.  Student employees with questions should contact the Office of Financial Aid at 542-2781.

Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Notice