Massachusetts Law Reimburses Employers for COVID Emergency Paid Sick Leave

June 11, 2021

Under a new law, all Massachusetts employers must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave for COVID-related reasons, including obtaining a vaccination, and retroactive to May 28, 2021 may be reimbursed up to $850 per employee per week until September 30, 2021 or the $75 million state fund runs out, whichever comes later.

The new law, which applies to large employers, follows a similar model to the federal FFCRA program enacted at the beginning of the COVID crisis that applied to small employers.

Every full-time employee must be provided up to 40 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees) of additional job-protected, emergency paid sick leave for COVID reasons, including to obtain a vaccination or to recover from symptoms arising from the vaccination.

Employers cannot claim an offset for COVID sick leave voluntarily provided to employees prior to May 28, 2021.

Employer reimbursement requirements:  Large employers can submit claims for reimbursement to the state fund for each employee’s leave use which must include the employee’s name, the date(s) the leave is requested and taken, and the COVID-related reason for leave.

Employee notice requirements:  Employees are required to provide notice of the need for COVID emergency paid sick leave as soon as practicable or foreseeable, and employers are required to post a notice of the availability of the leave in the workplace and/or electronically.

Outlook:  Since the leave program will expire when the state fund is depleted, employers should promptly file their reimbursement applications to the state.