Can I Hire a Replacement for an Employee Out on Leave?
The federal FMLA implicitly recognized the burden on smaller employers of allowing lengthy leaves, by limiting its applicability in the private sector to employers with 50 or more employees.
The Massachusetts law makes no such distinction, creating a new challenge for small business owners. If you have only 5-10 employees, the absence of any one of them for 12 weeks or longer could put a significant strain on your operations.
It is important to remember that your obligation is to protect a job of similar status and compensation for the employee on leave, not to leave the job vacant for the whole time. You are free to hire a temporary employee for the interim, or use a staffing service to fill the gap. If you are in a period of growth, you might even permanently replace that particular position, knowing that you will have to create or find a comparable role for the employee on leave when they return.
Learn more here about the Massachusetts Paid Family Leave Law.
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