Paid Family & Medical Leave Update

May 28, 2019


Key employer requirements under the Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave Law (FML) are scheduled to become effective over the next few months.  All members are strongly advised to visit the Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) website to familiarize yourself with your rights and obligations under this complex law.
Contributions Commence July 1, 2019
Under the law employers will have to begin collecting required program contributions equal to .63% of a covered worker’s earnings starting July 1, 2019.  Of the .63%, .52% is allocated to medical leave and the remaining  .11% is allocated to family leave.  Employers are responsible for paying 60% of the medical leave portion and may deduct the remaining 40% from employee pay.  Employers may also deduct 100% of the family leave portion from employee pay.  However, employers with fewer than 25 workers are exempt from contributing the employer share of the contribution but must still comply with all other requirements of the law.  Guidance on contributions, including a contribution calculator, may be found here.
The collected contributions, along with supporting workforce and wage documentation, will then have to be submitted to the DOR through its MassTaxConnect portal in October 2019, and on a quarterly basis thereafter.  The form and timing of the quarterly reports have yet to be determined.  Covered workers may begin taking the majority of the leave benefits January 1, 2021 (family leave for bonding with new child or managing affairs of active duty military, and medical leave), with the remainder of benefits (all other family leave) available July 1, 2021.   
Workplace Notification: June 30, 2019 Deadline
The deadline for employers to provide workers notification of the FML law is June 30th. Employers must post notification of the law in the workplace and provide their current workforce with written notification of their rights under the law. The notice, which may be provided electronically, must include the opportunity for the worker to acknowledge receipt or decline to acknowledge receipt of the information. DFML has published on its website a model notification poster and model notification form which includes the required acknowledgment provisions.
Private Plan Exemption: September 20, 2019 Deadline  
DFML has also set the deadline for submitting applications to opt-out of the state program as September 20, 2019.  Employers adopting a private plan may apply for an exemption from participating in the state program so long as the benefits provided by said plan meet or exceed the benefits required under the law and the private plans receives approval by the state prior to use.  The September 20th date is the deadline for opting out of the program for the third quarter of 2019.  For more information on applying for an exemption click here.
Questions or concerns may be directed to RAM General Counsel, Ryan Kearney, at 617-523-1900 or by email at [email protected]