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Baker Puts Forward Alternative Sick Time Proposal

Republican Charlie Baker, who has said he will vote against a ballot question that would guarantee workers earned sick time, put forward his own proposal on Monday to apply an earned sick time mandate only on larger employers and offer more flexibility to businesses.

Baker's proposal for earned sick time would apply to businesses with more than 50 employees, and companies that offer at least 10 days of paid "flex time" would be exempt.

"I believe Massachusetts should have a paid sick time law that protects families and allows workers to take care of their health and wellness without suffering financially,” Baker said in a statement Monday morning. “This balanced approach ensures the job market continues to thrive, getting more people back to work and on the path to economic independence."

Question 4 on the November ballot would guarantee workers at companies with 11 or more employees up to 40 hours of earned, paid sick time. At businesses with smaller workforces, employees could earn up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave.

While the ballot question calls for workers to start accruing sick time at their date of hire, Baker proposes to require employees to work for at least three months before the benefit kicks in. Baker has also recommended that earned sick time accrue at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked, as opposed to one hour for every 30 hours worked proposed in the ballot question.

While Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley has criticized her chief rival in the governor's race for his opposition to Question 4, Baker has insisted he supports the benefit for workers, but worries that the ballot question, as proposed, would limit the flexibility of employers to offer workers varied benefit packages, such as flex time that can be used for a variety of purposes.

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