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Ballot Question 4: Earned Sick Time For Employees

BOSTON (CBS) – Ballot Question 4 would set a mandate for both small and large businesses to provide employees with a certain allocation of sick days.

"Employees who work for employers having eleven or more employees could earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, while employees working for smaller employers could earn and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year," according to the question 4 description on the state elections website.

Steve Crawford of the Yes On Question 4 Coalition says this affects hundreds of thousands of residents of Massachusetts.

"People are surprised to learn that one out of every three workers in Massachusetts doesn't get any kind of paid sick day at all. There is as many of 40 percent of the population, when they get sick, they either risk losing their job or they lose a day's pay," Crawford told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

If Question 4 is passed, every worker would earn an hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. At a small business of ten employees or less, workers would receive unpaid sick time. At a larger business with 11 employees or more, sick time would be paid.

"There's also a provision written right into the bill where if you're sick one week and willing to swap shifts with one of your employees, you can do that," Crawford said of the law's flexibility.

On the other side of the issue, Bill Vernon of the National Federation of Independent Business says if Question 4 is approved, businesses will suffer.

"We know that Question 4 will cost money, that guaranteeing, mandating paid sick leave and unpaid sick leave on the businesses and the workers of Massachusetts will cost money," he told WBZ.

If approved, companies with more than ten employees would be required to provide paid sick leave.

Vernon says that threshold will hurt businesses.

"It makes Massachusetts' small businesses non-competitive with Connecticut, which has a 50 person threshold," he told WBZ.

"This Question 4 on the ballot would give Massachusetts the most comprehensive, strictest sick day leave law mandate in the country."

If approved, the sick time requirement would go into effect on July 1, 2015.

To read more about Question 4, visit the state elections website.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Doug Cope reports


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