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Employers and insurers should do a better job explaining paid medical leave

Mirta Barillas in Chelsea, Aug. 4. Barillas said she lost her job as a laundry worker for taking sick time that was covered by a state program.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Thank you for the article “Many workers unaware law gives them paid sick time” (Page A1, Aug. 10).

In June, I had a sudden medical emergency and lost weeks of work recovering from surgery. I work as a contractor, so the only paid sick time available to me is what’s mandated by the state — and I had just a couple of days of pay available. Luckily, I was aware that Massachusetts has paid medical leave. I was able to apply for it and receive payments. I knew about it because I’m a lawyer and have researched and written about medical leave for years.


But you shouldn’t have to be a lawyer with a particular interest to know about paid medical leave in Massachusetts. I’m also a blogger and wrote about my experience hoping to raise awareness. Neither the agency that places me nor my health insurance provider suggested paid medical leave. I brought it up to both myself. Employers, health insurance providers, and the state need to do a better job explaining that there is a financial lifeline out there.

Lisa C. Johnson