On September 29, 2021, Governor Charlie Baker signed an extension of the Massachusetts Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law. This legislation extends paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons through April 1, 2022, or until the exhaustion of $75 million in program funds.
The new legislation provides COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave for an employee to care for a family member who “is obtaining an immunization related to COVID-19 or is recovering from an injury, disability, illness or condition related to such immunization.”
Existing qualifying reasons for paid leave remain as enacted in the original May 2021 legislation and include an employee’s need to:
- Self-isolate and care for oneself because of the employee’s COVID-19 diagnosis;
- Get a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms; or
- Get or recover from a COVID-19 immunization.
Additionally, included as reasons for paid leave are an employee’s need to care for a family member who:
- Is self-isolating due to a COVID-19 diagnosis;
- Needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms; or
- Is subject to a quarantine order or similar determination by a local, state, or federal public official, a health authority, the family member’s employer, or a health care provider, regardless of whether the family member has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Our earlier client alert outlining the parameters of COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave may be accessed here.
Employers should be mindful that the legislation includes strict anti-retaliation provisions that prohibit employers from:
- Interfering with, restraining, or denying an employee’s ability to take COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave, including, but not limited to, using an employee’s taking of the leave as a negative factor in any employment action, such as an evaluation, promotion, disciplinary action, or termination;
- Disciplining or taking any other adverse action against an employee for the use of COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave; or
- Taking any adverse action against an employee because the employee opposes practices believed to be in violation of the COVD-19 emergency paid sick leave law, including filing an action or providing information or testimony.
We will continue to monitor developments under this legislation to provide information and guidance. Employers with specific questions are encouraged to speak with one of our employment attorneys.
This alert is for informational purposes only and may be considered advertising. It does not constitute the rendering of legal, tax or professional advice or services. You should seek specific detailed legal advice prior to taking any definitive actions.