The Employer Federal COVID pay credit expired September 30, 2021; however, the state of MA has a COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Paid Sick Leave Program which reimburses MA employers up to $850 weekly per employee for COVID sick leave through April 1, 2022.
Reasons for Leave
Through April 1, 2022, Massachusetts employers are required to provide emergency paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work for the following COVID-19-related reasons:
- an employee’s need to:
- self-isolate and care for themself because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19
- get a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms; or
- get or recover from a COVID-19 immunization
- an employee’s need to care for a family member1 who:
- must self-isolate due to a COVID-19 diagnosis
- needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms; or
- needs to obtain or recover from a COVID-19 immunization
- a quarantine order or similar determination regarding the employee by a local, state, or federal public official, a health authority having jurisdiction, the employee’s employer, or a health care provider
- an employee’s need to care for a family member due to a quarantine order or similar determination regarding the family member by a local, state, or federal public official, a health authority having jurisdiction, the family member’s employer, or a health care provider;
- an employee’s inability to telework due to COVID-19 symptoms.
Please note that, in general, employers may not require employees to use other types of available paid leave before they use COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave. Similarly, employers may not require employees to search for or find a replacement worker to cover the time the employee will miss while using COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave.
Employers must provide 40 hours of COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave to their employees who work 40 or more hours per week. For employees who regularly work fewer than 40 hours per week, employers must provide leave in an amount that is equal to the average number of hours that such employee works per week. For employees whose schedule and weekly hours vary from week to week, employers must provide leave that is equal to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled to work per week over the previous 6-months.
If an employee with a variable schedule has not worked for the employer for 6 months, the employer must provide leave that is equal to the number of hours per week that the employee reasonably expected to work when hired.
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 cost of benefits) per week.
Employee Requests for Leave
Employers who want to receive reimbursements from the Commonwealth for the costs of providing employees with COVID-19 Massachusetts emergency paid sick leave must require their employees to submit requests for COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave in writing. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Sample Employee Leave Form that should be completed and kept on file in the employer’s office.
Application for reimbursement is through the MA Dept of Revenue’s MassTaxConnect available at: https://www.mass.gov/business-taxes. The Schwartz & Schwartz Payroll Department will apply for the reimbursement on behalf of our Payroll clients.
Check out https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-temporary-emergency-paid-sick-leave-program to learn more. Or please email email@example.com if you have any questions regarding this valuable COVID-19 related reimbursement.