June 27, 2022

Volume XII, Number 178


June 24, 2022

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Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act to End on March 15, 2022

On May 28, 2021, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law an act requiring eligible Massachusetts employers to provide emergency paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work for COVID-19–related reasons. On September 29, 2021, Governor Baker approved an extension of the law, titled “An Act Providing for Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave,” and increased its funding.

The act was set to remain in effect until April 1, 2022, or until the exhaustion of $100 million in program funds, whichever came first. On February 28, 2022, the Commonwealth announced that the act will end on March 15, 2022.

The act requires an employer to provide an employee with up to forty hours of paid leave (a maximum benefit of $850 per week, reimbursable to the employer from the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Fund) when the employee:

  • needs to “self-isolate and care for [himself or herself] because of the employee’s COVID-19 diagnosis”;

  • needs to “care for a family member who is self-isolating due to a COVID-19 diagnosis”;

  • needs to obtain a “medical diagnosis, care or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms”;

  • needs to “care for a family member” seeking “medical diagnosis, care or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms”;

  • is unable to telework due to a COVID-19 diagnosis “and the symptoms inhibit the ability of the employee to telework”;

  • uses the time to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination or recover from illness related to the COVID-19 vaccination; or

  • is subject to a quarantine order or similar determination, or such an order or determination applies to the employee’s family member, due to COVID-19 exposure or symptoms, “regardless of whether” the employee or the employee’s “family member has been diagnosed with COVID-19.”

Key Updates and Developments

Under the act, the Executive Office for Administration and Finance had the authorization to end the program with fifteen days’ notice when $85 million worth of applications for reimbursement had been submitted. As of February 28, 2022, $85 million in applications had been submitted.

The act will now expire on March 15, 2022, as the exhaustion of $85 million in funds has been met. The act requires that employers continue to offer leave to eligible employees through March 15, 2022.

Employers may still submit applications for reimbursement after March 15, 2022, for qualifying leaves taken between May 28, 2021, and March 15, 2022. Applications for reimbursement must be submitted by April 29, 2022.

© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 60

About this Author

Rachel Reingold Mandel, Ogletree Deakins, Boston, Stamford, employment litigation, labor, employee, drug testing

Ms. Mandel is a shareholder in the Boston office. She focuses her practice on employment litigation, and represents employers in a broad range of employment matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. Ms. Mandel regularly practices before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Ms. Mandel also counsels employers and provides guidance on...

Melanie Cormier Litigation Attorney Boston Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC

Melanie joined the Boston office of Ogletree Deakins as an associate in 2021. She represents employers in all aspects of federal and state employment litigation, as well as before administrative agencies.

Before joining the firm, Melanie was an associate at a litigation boutique in Greensboro, North Carolina, practicing business and employment litigation. Melanie graduated cum laude Wake Forest University School of Law, earning the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) Outstanding Student Award. While in law school, she served as an Articles Editor for the Wake...