Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (MA EPSL) Law Update

Governor Baker recently signed legislation into law that gives Massachusetts employees paid sick leave for qualified reasons related to COVID-19. Under this newly enacted law, Brandeis employees can take up to 5 days (max of 40 hours) of MA EPSL if absent from and unable to work due to any of the following reasons from May 28, 2021, to September 30, 2021:
  1. An employee’s need to:
    • Self-isolate and care for oneself because of the employee’s COVID-19 diagnosis;
    • Seek or obtain medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms; or
    • Obtain immunization related to COVID-19 or the employee or family member is recovering from an injury, disability, illness, or condition related to such immunization. As an added benefit, Brandeis will allow employees who have previously used sick time for vaccine related issues, noted herein prior to this law’s effective date of May 28, 2021, to correct their absence by lowering the sick time used for this purpose and contacting Renee Relerford in Human Resources to apply the time under this new law.
  2. An employee’s need to care for a family member who:
    • Is self-isolating due to a COVID-19 diagnosis; or
    • Needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms.
  3. A quarantine order, or other determination by a local, state, or federal public official, a health authority having jurisdiction, Brandeis University, or a healthcare provider that the employee’s presence on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the employee’s exposure to COVID-19 or exhibiting of symptoms, regardless of whether the employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  4. An employee’s need to care for a family member due to a quarantine order, or other determination by a local, state, or federal public official, a health authority having jurisdiction, the family member’s employer or a healthcare provider that the family member’s presence on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the family member’s exposure to COVID-19, regardless of whether the family member has been diagnosed with COVID-19; or
  5. An employee’s inability to telework because the employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and the symptoms inhibit the ability of the employee to telework.

For over a year now, Brandeis has offered a Pandemic Pay program. Pandemic Pay provides ten (10) days of paid leave for employees who contract COVID, have COVID-like symptoms and are waiting for COVID test results or who need to quarantine in accordance with public health guidance or on the advice of a medical provider. Going forward, Brandeis will be expanding its Pandemic Pay program to cover qualified reasons related to COVID-19 as covered by the MA EPSL.

Additionally, Brandeis will allow Pandemic Pay to be used for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, immediate family member vaccine appointments, personal recovery from vaccines and immediate family illnesses due to vaccines.

Employees with questions or who have taken sick or other time off for the above listed reasons, which may require an absence correction, may contact Renee Relerford in Human Resources. Documentation as to the need for the leave will be required.

In accordance with the MA EPSL, Brandeis’ Pandemic Pay program will end on September 30, 2021. Please see the Mandatory notice regard this new law