By Bob Katzen
The House 0-158, Senate on a voice vote without a roll call, rejected Gov. Baker’s amendment that would exclude municipal employees from the emergency COVID-19 paid leave program.
The Baker administration has defended the exclusion of municipal workers arguing that they already have strong leave protections in place and that many municipalities can access federal funds to implement their own leave programs that could align with state and federal leave guarantees.
Rep. Josh Cutler, (D-Pembroke), House chair of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development disagreed with Baker. “As the speaker has made clear, the House stands firm in supporting COVID emergency paid leave for all Massachusetts workers,” said Cutler. “That includes our municipal employees, the teachers, police officers, firefighters, health agents, janitors, veterans’ agents and many others who have been essential to our state’s COVID-19 response. Further, our actions today to address unemployment solvency account rates will help stem rising costs for employers and small businesses.”
House GOP Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading) also disagreed with Baker, a fellow Republican. “Having access to emergency paid sick leave is essential to workers who are recovering from the coronavirus, caring for a family member or trying to schedule their vaccination,” Jones said. “Municipal employees—including essential frontline workers like police and firefighters—have also faced numerous challenges created by the COVID-19 global pandemic, and the House’s vote will ensure that they are also entitled to the same paid sick leave benefits as other non-municipal workers.”
(A “No” vote is against the amendment and favors including municipal employees.)
Rep. Christine Barber No Rep. Mike Connolly No Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven No