In spring 2021, Massachusetts established a statewide mandate for employers to temporarily provide employees up to 40 hours of MA EPSL when they are unable to work due to specific qualifying reasons related to the pandemic. The law was set to expire on September 30, 2021, but Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker signed a legislative amendment that extended the law through April 1, 2022. This new legislation does not increase the total number of additional hours employers are required to provide.
The new law also extends the coverage of the MA EPSL to allow leave to care for family members who are “obtaining immunization related to COVID–19 or are recovering from an injury, disability, illness or condition related to such immunization”.
Beginning October 1, 2021, employees may now use COVID–19 Paid Leave for the following reasons:
- Self–isolating and caring for oneself because of the employee’s COVID–19 diagnosis;
- Seeking or obtaining a medical diagnosis, care or treatment for COVID–19 symptoms;
- Obtaining immunization related to COVID–19 or recovering from an injury, disability, illness or condition related to such immunization;
- Caring for a family member who is self–isolating due to a COVID–19 diagnosis;
- Caring for a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID–19 symptoms;
- Caring 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;
- Complying with a quarantine order from a public official, health authority, the employer, or a
healthcare provider; or
- An inability to telework due to COVID–19 because they have been diagnosed with COVID–19 and the symptoms inhibit their ability to telework.
As a reminder, Massachusetts employers are required to provide up to 40 additional hours of paid leave
to employees who are unable to work due to COVID–19. The amount of paid leave an employee is
entitled to depends on the number of hours they work in a given week:
- Those regularly working 40 or more hours per week will receive 40 hours of COVID–19 Paid
- Employees regularly working fewer than 40 hours per week will receive COVID–19 Paid Leave
that is equal to the number of hours that the employee works on average over a 14–day period;
- Employees working varying hours from week to week will receive COVID–19 Paid Leave equivalent to the average number of hours they worked each week over the six–month period immediately preceding the date on which they take the COVID–19 Paid Leave. If the employee did not work a six–month period prior to taking leave, then they will receive leave based on their reasonable expectation of the average number of hours per week that they would normally be scheduled to work.
We will continue to monitor this new legislation and will provide updates if and/or when they occur.
Please reach out to your HR Synergy consultant of you have any questions.