The Massachusetts House and Senate on Monday passed legislation extending the state's COVID-19 emergency paid leave program, which is currently scheduled to expire on Thursday.
Under the bill (H 4127), which also speaks to a public education campaign to promote the program's availability, the program would be extended until April 1, 2022.
Lawmakers sent the bill to Gov. Charlie Baker Monday afternoon.
"The evidence is clear: The vaccine is the best and safest way to stem the spread of the virus and end the pandemic. Extending this vital benefit will help Massachusetts continue its progress towards full recovery," Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano said in a statement.
Finalized in May, the law grants all employees access to emergency leave for up to five paid days off for COVID-related concerns, including paid leave from work to attend a vaccine appointment. Workers are eligible for emergency paid leave "should they be diagnosed with COVID-19, required to isolate, or need to care for a family member due to the virus," according to Spilka's office.
The House also named members to the House COVID-19 Working Group that was charged under an order adopted last week with navigating the House through its new vaccine mandate and planned reopening of the State House, a goal that currently lacks concrete timelines.
The representatives named to the working group are Speaker Pro Tempore Kate Hogan, William Driscoll, Joseph McGonagle, Dan Cahill, Bud Williams, Jon Santiago, Natalie Blais, and Kim Ferguson.