Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave – What Employers of MA Workers Need to Know


by Rhoda McVeigh,
KMA Consultant

In mid-2018, Massachusetts (MA) passed the MA Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) regulations, which will be one of the most generous paid family and medical leave programs in the nation. PFML creates an insurance program administered by the MA Department of Family and Medical Leave (Department) and funded by payroll contributions from employers and covered individuals.

If you employ MA workers, you’ll be required to comply with the PFML law.

Important Dates Explained Below

  • September 30, 2019 – MA PFML employee notice deadline
  • October 1, 2019 – employer contributions and employee deductions begin
  • January 1, 2021 – employee leaves and payouts begin

Beginning January 1, 2021, the PFML will require MA employers to provide eligible employees, and in some cases, independent contractors and self-employed individuals, with up to 26 weeks of paid, job-protected family and medical leaves of absence.

Beginning October 1, 2019, all MA employers will be required to start making financial contributions to support the paid leave program and may require their employees to contribute a portion of the contributions (within stated limits).

Also, PRIOR to September 30, 2019, employers must notify employees and independent contractors of their PFML benefits by:

  • Displaying the mandatory workplace poster provided by the Department at each of their Massachusetts locations;
  • Providing written notice to current employees (full-time, part-time, seasonal), contractors, and new employees within 30 days of hiring (templates available at the Department website); and
  • Collecting signed acknowledgements from employees and independent workers.

We recommend MA employers familiarize themselves with the PFML program requirements and options immediately. Other actions employers should immediately take:

  • Set up a MassTaxConnect account for submission of the quarterly reports and the required contributions. The first quarterly report and funds submission are scheduled to be sent in January 2020.
  • Consider whether to apply for a private plan exemption. Employers that already have a generous leave or disability plan may wish to opt out of the state program and administer a voluntary paid family and/or medical leave plan – the deadline for applying for the exemption is December 20, 2019.
  • Prepare to begin payroll deductions for employee premiums on the first pay date on or after October 1, 2019. The Department’s website offers interactive calculators to help employers estimate the required contributions, including the amounts for both the employer’s and the covered individual’s share.

For More Information

More detailed information, FAQs, contributions rates, poster, and more can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave website.

Guide to PFML MA

We’re Here to Help!

If you have questions on this or any other compliance issues, contact the experts at KMA today.

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