Massachusetts Institutes New Paid Emergency Sick Leave
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed House Bill 3702, which institutes a new policy of emergency paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons. This new policy dubbed the MA Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“MA EPSL”) will go into effect on the 7th of June and will continue until the 30th of September 2021 unless a $75,000,000 fund set aside to reimburse employers runs out first.
This leave policy is in addition to all other leave that an employer must give under their own policies, federal law, and Massachusetts’ existing Earned Sick Time Law and must be used before other sick leave in most circumstances. However, if an employer already has adopted a sick leave policy specifically for COVID-19 that may be used for the same amount of time and reasons, then this new policy does not need to apply
Sick leave under this policy may be claimed for a diagnosis for themselves, to be diagnosed, or to care for family members. Additional causes for claiming the policy include quarantine orders and even COVID-19 symptoms that make work difficult for teleworkers.
Employees may claim up to 40 hours of leave if they are regularly scheduled for 40 or more hours of work. Those who work less will receive a 14-week average of hours worked per week, and for workers with variable schedules, it will be equivalent to a 6 month average of hours worked per week. However, all benefits will max out at $850.
Employers may seek reimbursement for up to $850 from the state fund. But, payments eligible for reimbursement under FFCRA will not be reimbursable. Employers will be required to post notice of this policy in convenient locations, and supply teleworkers notice through electronic communications.