Additional sick leave benefits are now available to Massachusetts residents

Health

BOSTON (WWLP) – Thursday was a big day for Massachusetts because the entire Paid Family and Medical Leave program went into effect.

The group known as Rise Up Massachusetts held a demonstration in Boston to celebrate this historic win, they say this move alone will help hundreds of families across the Commonwealth. The Paid Family and Medical Leave program first passed in 2018.

The benefits of the program just began in January of 2021, but so far they’ve allowed residents to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child and up to 20 weeks to recover from a serious illness.

The final part of the program began on Thursday providing residents with 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a sick family member. Something that Fairhaven Resident, Christine Lavault wishes she had when her husband got sick just a few years ago.

“I had to work and it broke my heart to watch him wither away so, I just think if I was there with him I could’ve fought for him I could’ve got him better healthcare,” Lavault told 22News.

Lavault’s story is not unique, many of the people at Thursday’s rally shared their experience of having to work instead of being able to care for their sick loved ones. Even though it’s being celebrated, many on Beacon Hill believe this change should have happened a long time ago.

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