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Massachusetts mandates job protected sick time related to pandemic for up to 40 hours


Massachusetts has established a statewide mandate for employers to temporarily provide employees up to 40 hours of COVID-19 Massachusetts emergency paid sick leave when they are unable to work due to specific qualifying reasons related to the pandemic.

The new MA EPSL benefit is in addition to existing paid time-off benefits offered by employers or required by law (such as Earned Sick Time), subject to some limited exceptions.

Governor Charlie Baker originally vetoed the MA EPSL legislation in April 2021 with recommended amendments, but the Massachusetts legislature reworked the bill and resubmitted it to the Governor. He signed House Bill 3702 into law on May 28, 2021. Employees are entitled to MA EPSL benefits starting June 7, 2021 and until September 30, 2021.

Earned Sick Time

In order to contain the outbreak and protect people with compromised immunities, it is critical to stay home if you are feeling sick. Most workers in Massachusetts have the right to earn and use up to 40 hours of job-protected sick time per year. Under state laws, workers must earn at least one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked. More details about the earned sick time law can be found here. If you think your employer is violating the earned sick time law, call the AG’s Fair Labor Division at 617-727-3465 or file a complaint online. For more information on what leave and benefit options you may have available if you need to quarantine, please visit this page on the Rights For Quarantined Essential Workers.

Workplace Safety

You are legally entitled to a safe and healthy workplace. While COVID-19 is part of our daily lives right now, your employer must provide you with a safe and healthy workplace.

If you would like to report an unsafe working condition related to COVID-19, you may report your concern to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at: 1-800-321-6742. Massachusetts state and municipal employees can file a workplace safety or health complaint with the Department of Labor Standards (DLS). DLS can be reached at 508-616-0461, option 1; or safepublicworkplacemailbox@mass.gov. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for making a complaint about an unsafe working condition.

Rights for Quarantined Workers

Ensuring that essential workers do not have to go to work sick is crucial to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are options to consider for essential workers who need to quarantine due to COVID-19: mass.gov/service-details/rights-for-quarantined-essential-workers.

Multilingual Resources on Earned Sick Time

Earned Sick Time Notice of Employee Rights (Portuguese) (PDF 5.2 MB)
Earned Sick Time Notice of Employee Rights (Spanish) (PDF 5.65 MB)

About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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