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Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Published:  June 1, 2021

On Friday, May 28, 2021, Governor Baker signed an act that requires Massachusetts employers to provide COVID-19 emergency sick leave to employees effective immediately. Employees are eligible for the emergency sick leave if they are diagnosed with COVID, required to quarantine or need to care for a family member who is sick with COVID. The COVID emergency sick leave is also available to employees who are getting vaccinated or recovering from vaccine side effects.

Employees are eligible for up to 5 days of leave, at their regular rate of pay, capped at $850 a week. Employers may not require employees to use other types of paid leave before they use COVID-19 emergency leave. Also, employers may not interfere with an employee’s ability to take the emergency sick leave or discipline an employee for taking the leave.

The Act creates a $75 million fund to reimburse employers for providing employees with the emergency sick leave. Employers seeking reimbursement must have employees submit a written request. Employers should use a form to collect the required information from employees. The requirement to provide COVID emergency sick leave will last until September 30, 2021, or until the fund runs out.  

While employers must comply with this new law immediately, guidance on the mechanics of the law have yet to be released. The Commonwealth claims such guidance will be given “in the coming weeks.”

In the meantime, for any questions on compliance, or estimations on the type of guidance we can expect, please contact any of the attorneys at Royal Law Firm at 413-586-2288.