BOSTON – The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition of community groups, faith-based organizations, and labor unions, which has advocated for emergency paid sick time throughout the pandemic, today issued the following statement in response to legislative leaders expressing support for an extension of the Commonwealth’s emergency paid sick time protections past their September 30 expiration date:
“As we fight yet another COVID surge, it’s critical that we maintain access to emergency paid sick time for all in Massachusetts. To reduce the spread of the incredibly contagious Delta variant, workers must be able to stay home if they test positive or might be infectious. As we work to get more people vaccinated and begin delivering booster shots to millions of already-vaccinated individuals, frontline workers especially need emergency paid sick time to recover from any side effects of the vaccine.
“The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition deeply appreciates Senate President Spilka, Speaker Mariano, Senator Lewis, and Representative Donato for expressing their support of extending Massachusetts’ emergency paid sick time protections. We stand ready to work with them to ensure that all workers have the sick time they need to get through this pandemic safely.”
Massachusetts’ COVID-19 emergency paid sick time legislation requires all Massachusetts employers to provide 40 hours of emergency paid sick time to a full-time worker, and an equivalent amount for part-time workers. The sick time can be used for COVID-related sickness, quarantine, caregiving, and vaccination, and it is job-protected, meaning that workers cannot be fired or otherwise penalized for using it.
The costs to employers are covered in one of two ways:
• Businesses with fewer than 500 employees, as well as government entities, will be eligible to receive a tax credit from the federal government to cover the cost, as part of American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden.
• The state legislation provides state reimbursement to businesses with over 500 employees, and creates a $75 million state fund for reimbursement.
Between the state and federal governments, all businesses are eligible for either state reimbursement or the federal tax credit.