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March 2022: Massachusetts COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ending Soon

15 Mar

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Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Massachusetts

What happened?
On February 28, 2022, state officials have announced that the Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (MEPSL) will expire on March 15, 2022.

What are the details?
Under the law, employers are required to make paid leave time available to employees for COVID-19–related illnesses, quarantine, and vaccinations. Employers then apply for reimbursement from the state.

Meanwhile, when the law was extended last year, the state also expanded the reasons employees may take leave.

Until March 15, 2022, employers must provide 40 hours of paid leave to full-time employees. For employees working less than 40 hours a week, the leave provided must equal the average number of hours the employee works during a week.

The expanded reasons for use announced last fall covered family members, in addition to employees, to take leave:

  • To isolate and care for themselves because of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis
  • To get care, treatment, or a diagnosis
  • To get the vaccine or recover from its effects

Other covered use for COVID-19 paid sick leave in Massachusetts include:

  • Quarantine orders, both governmental and through a healthcare provider
  • Inability to work remotely because of COVID-19

Generally, employers cannot require workers to use other types of available paid leave before using COVID-19 paid sick leave. Also, employers may not require workers to search for or find a replacement employee to cover the time the employee will miss while using COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave.

The maximum amount an employer is required to pay per employee, and the maximum amount for which the employer may seek reimbursement for any one employee, is $850 (including the cost of benefits).

Additionally, employers have until April 29, 2022, to file for reimbursement through the Department of Revenue’s MassTaxConnect website. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website released steps on how to file for reimbursement.

For more information, please see the links below:

Announcement

Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Steps to File for Reimbursement

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and continue to provide their full-time employees with 40 hours of paid leave and the average number of hours the part-time employees work during a week until MEPSL ends on March 15, 2022. Employers who are seeking to file for MEPSL reimbursement will need to be aware of the April 29, 2022 deadline.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Massachusetts PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.


This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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