Can an employer dictate that earned sick time can only be taken in increments of 4 or 8 hours in MA?

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Can an employer dictate that earned sick time can only be taken in increments of 4 or 8 hours in MA?

I work at a charter school in MA and the HR woman has decided that you can
only take off a half day 4 hrs or full day 8 hrs for sick time, so if I have an
appointment in the morning, but come back to school and work the rest of the
day and I came back 4.2 hrs into the day, she takes 8 hours of my sick time and
on paper, it looks like I wasn’t at work that day. The same for half day. I leave 2
hrs early for an appointment and it shows up as 4 hrs. I pasted the law from the
state below. I assume her defense is ‘smallest increment’ our system allows, but
she decided that. She sets up our online system, which allows you to put in
specific times. Do I have a cause for a complaint?

‘A The smallest amount of sick time an employee can use is one hour. For uses
beyond one hour, employees may use earned sick time in hourly increments or
in the smallest increment the employers payroll system uses to account for
absences or use of other time.’

Asked on October 6, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It appears that you have a complaint. The "smallest amount . . . is one hour" language presupposes that use of sick time can be tracked in hourly increments at a minimum. This is reinforced by the "beyond one hour...in hourly incrementws or in the smallest increment the employer's payroll system uses" which sets it up, in conjunction with the initial or smallest use being one hour, that the employer must track in hourly increments unless its system permits more-fine-grained tracking, such as in quarter-hour, tenth-hour, etc. increments. Nothing in the law indicates that the employer may set up minimum increments larger than one hour, since that would clash with the "smallest amount of time" language, which requires hourly tracking at a minimum. You could contact your state department of labor to file a complaint.


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