Short term disability benefits are monies paid to employees who injure themselves outside of the workplace and need income to support themselves while recovering; an assembly-line worker injuring her arm, while hiking on the weekend, is a good example of a circumstance that would prompt a request for short term disability. Unfortunately, most states do not require that employers offer such benefits, and Massachusetts is one of those states.
There is no federal law requiring that employers offer their employees paid sick leave, and in Massachusetts, there are no state laws enforcing mandatory sick time. If a Massachusetts employer does offer short term disability pay, it is legally the employer's right to demand that the injured employee use up paid sick leave days before offering disability pay.
If an employer in Massachusetts does offer short term disability benefits, the firm will likely pay for these benefits by purchasing short term disability insurance from an insurance company. The eligibility requirements for the benefits will be set by the employer, and the injury will almost certainly require confirmation by a physician.
A Union Contract
If the employer has a union contract with a workers' union, then it must abide by that contract if it stipulates that paid sick leave and short term disability benefits should be offered to employees, whether injured on the job or not. This is the only legal circumstance in which short term disability payments would be guaranteed.