State's emergency COVID paid sick time program ends

A temporary state program established during the pandemic to reimburse employers for workers' COVID-19-related time off ended this week.

State officials said the COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Paid Sick Leave Program, which was created to allow workers who contracted COVID or needed to care for someone else who had to take time off, ran out of allocated funding and ended March 15.

Labor advocates, such as Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health director Jodi Sugerman-Brozan, say the pandemic is not yet over and are calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to extend the program.

“What this means is many workers will choose to go to work sick instead because they have no choice but to put food on the table," she said. "And without paid time off, they're going to be going to work, whether or not they have symptoms — and in some cases, even if they test positive."

Applications were on track to exceed the budgeted amount for the program by the end of February, triggering a two-week notice that it would soon end, according to a spokesperson for Baker.

There's no pending legislation aimed at extending the program, though lawmakers did add an additional $25 million in funding back in February.

Employers have until April 29 to file for reimbursements for qualifying leave taken between May 28, 2021 and March 15, 2022.


Headshot of Laney Ruckstuhl

Laney Ruckstuhl Field Producer
Laney Ruckstuhl is the field producer for Morning Edition. She was formerly a digital producer.



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