The Massachusetts law providing up to forty hours of paid sick leave to employees for COVID-related absences will expire on March 15, 2022 according to a notice issued by Executive Office for Administration and Finance on Monday. The law, which was enacted in May 2021, was meant to be effective until April 1, 2022, or the exhaustion of a fund established by the legislature to reimburse employers for the paid leave, whichever occurred first.
A budget amendment signed by Governor Baker last month provided an additional infusion of cash for the reimbursement fund, but it was not sufficient to carry it through to the April 1 target date.
Employers must continue to offer leave to eligible employees through March 15. Applications for reimbursement for qualifying leave taken between May 28, 2021 and March 15, 2022 must be submitted by employers through the MassTaxConnet website no later than April 29, 2022.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave can be used for:
- an employee’s need to:
- self-isolate and care for themself because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- get a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms; or
- get or recover from a COVID-19 immunization;
- an employee’s need to care for a family member who:
- must self-isolate due to a COVID-19 diagnosis;
- needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms; or
- needs to obtain or recover from a COVID-19 immunization;
- a quarantine order or similar determination regarding the employee by a local, state, or federal public official, a health authority having jurisdiction, the employee’s employer, or a health care provider;
- an employee’s need to care for a family member due to a quarantine order or similar determination regarding the family member by a local, state, or federal public official, a health authority having jurisdiction, the family member’s employer, or a health care provider; or
- an employee’s inability to telework due to COVID-19 symptoms.
Employers generally may not require employees to use other types of available paid leave before they use COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave, and employers may not require employees to search for or find a replacement worker to cover the time the employee will miss while using COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave. Employees are protected against retaliation for exercising their rights under the law.
Employers with questions about this benefit should review the helpful information on the state’s website, or contact employment counsel.