Hospital waiting room

Many workers unaware law gives them paid sick time (Boston Globe)

Below is an excerpt from an August 10 article published by the Boston Globe calling attention to a critical time off medical safeguard for Massachusetts residents. Greater Boston Legal Services’ Staff Attorney David McKenna is quoted.


Mirta Barillas had worked for an industrial laundry in Haverhill for 17 years when the company stopped giving her time off for frequent migraines. After missing numerous shifts in early 2022, she was eventually put on unpaid leave for five weeks to recover, she said — with only a few days of paid vacation to make up for lost wages.

The human resources manager then told her she could only come back if she stopped calling in sick, Barillas said, and when she produced a doctor’s note stating that the migraines could continue causing her to miss work, she was fired.

Massachusetts has a safeguard for workers who need to take time off for medical reasons or to care for a family member, guaranteeing them up to 26 weeks of paid time off, in addition to employer-provided sick days, funded through a payroll tax and issued by the state. But more than two years after benefits were launched in January 2021, many workers still aren’t aware of their rights, and some companies are punishing them for taking time off for health or family reasons.

Read more at the Boston Globe.