Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, working Massachusetts parents may qualify for up to 12 weeks of paid leave during their child's remote or hybrid learning.
Employment attorney Kevin Kinne, of Worcester, says he's getting calls all the time from employees and employers asking about how the leave works.
"I think parents are trying to do the right thing both by their children and by their employer, and so balancing those needs is important," said Kinne, who's a partner at Cohen, Kinne, Valicenti & Cook.
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Kinne explained that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides for two weeks of emergency paid sick leave for all working parents of children, age 14 and under, whose school is partially or fully remote. There's an additional ten weeks of FMLA for parents who have been employed at least 30 days, full-time or part-time, for the hours they traditionally work, Kinne said.
Employees of businesses with fewer than 500 workers are eligible for two-thirds pay, capped at $200 per day.
Remote days during a child's hybrid learning do qualify, Kinne said.
"The Department of Labor recently came out with a clarification that employers have an obligation to give sort of intermittent leave to those employees," Kinne said. "Because the school is considered closed during those days when they're learning remotely."
Kinne said employers should note the burden of the paid leave doesn't fall on them.
"They get a dollar for dollar tax credit at the end of the year," he said.
Stacey Hall is one of many parents who said they weren't aware of the option for the paid parental leave to help with juggling with working and helping her children navigate remote learning through Boston Public Schools.
"It's difficult. I have two students who are online learning," Hall said. "I think it's interesting, I didn't know that they were doing that."
Working parents are eligible to use the paid leave through Dec. 31.