All employers in Massachusetts are required to provide up to 40 hours of job-protected, paid leave for various COVID-19-related reasons. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed House Bill 3702 into law on May 28, 2021. The MA Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“MA EPSL”) will take effect on June 7, 2021, and will extend through September 30, 2021, or until the $75,000,000 fund established to reimburse employers for this new paid leave is exhausted, whichever occurs first. Significantly, MA EPSL is generally in addition to all other job-protected time off (paid or unpaid) that employers are required to provide under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, the employer’s existing policies, or federal law to the extent permitted by such federal law. For more information, please visit https://www.mass.gov/topics/paid-family-and-medical-leave-in-massachusetts.
In Rhode Island, there are similar programs under Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI). For more information on how either of these programs work, please visit https://health.ri.gov/publications/resourceguides/COVID-19-Relief-for-Workers.pdf.
As small businesses navigate these unchartered waters post-covid, now is a great time to meet with your small business management team, especially your Human Resource Specialist, your Insurance Agent, and your Attorney. They can guide and properly prepare you for the help your employees (and possibly even you) may be seeking through these relief programs.