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Q. I have employees in Massachusetts. Do I need to pay for accrued sick leave upon termination?
A. In a recent opinion, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court followed the lead of most other jurisdictions in finding that sick pay does not constitute wages under the Massachusetts Payment of Wages Law. Unlike accrued and unused vacation, which is considered to be wages and must be paid at termination, Massachusetts employers are not required by statute to pay out accrued but unused sick pay to employees upon termination of employment.
Although the Massachusetts statute does not explicitly exclude sick pay from the definition of wages, the Court reasoned that “employees do not have an absolute right to spend down their sick time,” it must be used only when the employee or a family member is sick.