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Massachusetts extends COVID-19 paid leave requirements

Massachusetts has extended COVID-19 emergency paid leave requirements to April 1, 2022.

The state’s Temporary Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave statute went into effect in May 2021. The extension leaves that law largely intact — with one addition. Now, employees will be eligible for paid leave to care for a family member who “is obtaining immunization related to COVID-19 or is recovering from an injury, disability, illness or condition related to such immunization.”

The extension does not, however, grant any additional leave to employees who have already used their 40-hour entitlement.

A recap: As a reminder, Massachusetts employers are required to provide up to 40 hours of additional paid leave to employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19. The paid leave entitlement varies based on the number of hours an employee works weekly.

  • For example, employees working 40 or more hours per week are to receive 40 hours of COVID-19 paid leave.
  • Employees working fewer than 40 hours will receive paid leave equal to hours averaged over a 14-day period.
  • Employees working varying hours will receive paid leave equal to their weekly average over the last six months.

Employees may use paid leave for the following reasons:

  • Self-isolating and self-care after their own diagnosis
  • Seeking diagnosis or treatment
  • Caring for a family member who is isolating or who needs diagnosis or care due to COVID-19
  • Complying with a quarantine order
  • An inability to telework due to COVID-19 symptoms

The law was recently expanded to add: Caring for a family member who is obtaining immunization or recovering from immunization

Under the law, employers may not compel employees to use other paid leave before using COVID-19 paid sick leave. Further, employers may not require an employee to find a replacement team member to cover their shift.

Pay cap and reimbursement: Under the law, employees are to receive full wage replacement, up to a cap of $850. Eligible employers can request reimbursement from the $75 million COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Fund until the fund is depleted.

Notice of rights: As with other legal notices of employment rights, employers must place notice of the COVID-19 paid leave law in a conspicuous location accessible to all employees. Remember remote workers when posting legal notices; additional posting on a company intranet is recommended.

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