New Hospital Form for Use of Sick Time

If you have recently taken sick leave from work, you may be wondering why the hospital has asked you to fill out a form describing your reason for being away.

Last Fall, Massachusetts voters voted overwhelmingly in favor of a ballot question about earned sick time. The proposal aimed to provide sick-time accrual more broadly to Massachusetts workers, with the intention that waitresses and per diems and adjunct teachers will no longer face a conundrum when they get sick: choosing between keeping their jobs -or- staying home to get healthy.

When the new law was implemented, most of us were surprised to learn that it included a requirement that all employers keep records about absenteeism. Employers across Massachusetts are now scrambling to quickly incorporate this unexpected new record-keeping. UMass Memorial has followed the State Attorney General’s directive, as described in a recent News & Views, and is now requiring all employees to complete a form when taking sick hours from work. SHARE and UMass Memorial already have negotiated sick time policies; these new requirements seem unnecessarily cumbersome, and it's not surprising that some SHARE members are frustrated by this new form.

Because this new aspect of the law was so unexpected, employers and unions across the state have many questions about how to handle it properly. For the moment, all SHARE members should know these two things:

  1. This is all in flux. We are talking about it with Human Resources, and getting it figured out.
  2. Until we have reason to understand otherwise, we recommend that all SHARE members fill out the form if they’re asked.

We will keep you posted with developments. Please keep us posted if you have questions or concerns about how your department is working to comply with the new regulations.