Earned Sick Time
As a result of the ruling from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, resulting from implementation of the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, students who are exempt from paying Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax are exempt from accruing and using earned sick time. During the academic year, most BC students are exempt from paying FICA, so they are exempt from earning and using earned sick time.
However, during the summer, most BC students do pay FICA tax; therefore they are able to accrue, use, and carry forward into the next summer's student employment period earned sick time.
International students may be exempt from FICA, in which case they would not be eligible for Earned Sick Time (EST) during the summer, just as most students are not eligible during the academic year when they’re exempt from FICA then. However, they can check their pay stubs as to whether they pay FICA, or they can contact the Human Resources Service Center for assistance.
More detailed information about EST including Questions and Answers, as well as a public notice about this law, can be found below.
Student employees earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked during our summer employment period. Student employees begin earning sick time under this law as of July 1, 2015, or on their date of hire if later.
At Boston College, for students it is the defined Summer Student Employment Period, which begins the Sunday before Commencement and continues until the Saturday prior to the start of the next academic year. In compliance with the University’s Student Hours policy statement, students may work up to a total of 40 hours per week and up to 12 weeks when working 30 or more hours per week during the summer, which would total 480 hours (40 x 12). Therefore, students could earn up to 16 hours of accrued sick time during the summer (480 divided by 30 hours) and carry forward to the next summer Student Employment period any unused accrued sick time.
It may only be used during the summer, and student employees may begin using earned sick time 90 days after their first day of work if they begin working for Boston College during the current summer, or began working last summer or worked during the recent academic year. In addition, sick time may be used only after it has been accrued.
After a break in employment service of up to twelve months, returning student employees do not need to wait 90 days to start using their accrued sick time as long as it had been 90 days since they began working for Boston College.
In accordance with the law, accrued sick time may be used to:
- Care for the student employee or the employee’s child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse, who is suffering from a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition that requires home care, professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventive medical care.
- Attend a routine medical appointment of the student employee or the employee’s child, spouse, parent or parent of a spouse.
- Travel to and from an appointment, a pharmacy, or other location related to the purpose for which the sick time was taken.
- Address the psychological, physical, or legal effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee’s dependent child.
Yes. Student employees may use sick time in increments as small as one hour. After one hour, the sick time may be used in increments as small as one-quarter hour.
7. If a student works more than one job during the summer earning accrued sick time with both campus employers (and working two jobs doesn’t exceed the 40 hours per week policy), can that student use accrued sick time for either summer job?
Yes. Time accrued from working at one job can be used with the other job, and the student will be paid the wage from whichever job the student is scheduled to work when accrued sick time is used.
Student employees will be able to carry over unused earned sick time from one summer to the next University-defined summer student employment period.
No. Any unused sick time will not be paid out, in accordance with the law.
Student employees should make a good-faith effort to notify their supervisors in advance if the need for using sick time is foreseeable. If the employee anticipates a multi-day absence from work, she or he should provide notification of the expected duration of the absence or, if unknown, provide notification on a daily basis, unless the circumstances make such notice unreasonable. If the use of sick time is not foreseeable, sick time must be reported as soon as possible.
In accordance with the Sick Time Law provisions, employees may be required to submit documentation from a health care provider to their department certifying that the use of sick time was for an authorized purpose when the absence:
- Exceeds twenty-four (24) consecutively scheduled work hours or three (3) consecutively scheduled work days.
- Occurs within two (2) weeks prior to an employee’s final scheduled day of work before his or her employment ends for the summer.
- Occurs after four (4) unforeseeable and undocumented absences within a three (3) month period.
For the weekly student payroll, earned sick time hours that were used will be reported through Kronos, as is currently done for many regular employees. In addition, 100% of the paid sick time will be charged to the current department’s HR account on the employee’s job record. (Federal Work-Study regulations prohibit the use of federal funding for any purpose other than towards paying a percentage of wages for hours actually worked by the FWS-awarded student.) Two exceptions to this are: students paid from Grants; and, Off-Campus Work-Study students. In these two cases, used sick time will be charged to a separate University account. Managers, as well as those who can approve hours in Kronos, will be able to view information about accrued and used sick time hours on the Leave Balance Detail Page in the Leave Accrual System. Student employees will be able to view their information through the PeopleSoft Self-Service application – Payroll & Compensation/Leave Balance Detail, as well as on their check advice.
13. Who should the student employee contact with questions about hours accrued/used found in Payroll & Compensation/Leave Balance Detail?
The student should speak with her or his supervisor who, in turn, can check with someone in that office or department who will be able to view information about that student employee in the Leave Accrual System.
If a student employee is exempt from FICA tax, that employee is exempt from the Sick Time Law. If the student employee is covered by the FICA tax withholding requirement, such as during the summer, the employee must be allowed to accrue and use sick time. In addition, a student employee is only eligible to use accrued sick time during periods when the student employee is covered by the Sick Time Law, so that a student is not entitled to use sick time accrued in the summer during the academic year; and, the reasoning is that during the academic year the student is exempt and not entitled to any benefits under that Law during that period of exemption.
15. Is there a public notice about the Massachusetts Sick Time Act, and does it need to be posted and made available to student employees?
The Massachusetts Earned Sick Time public notice can be accessed at the following: www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/offices/hr/pdf/ee_sicktime_notice.pdf and it is available for public viewing on the Student Employment website under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time subject heading on the main page. It should also be included in any employee handbook (paper and/or electronic) made available to student employees by their campus employers.