Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law: Key Dates for Employers
As explained in our recent legal alert Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave: Coming Soon, Massachusetts will soon offer one of the most generous family and medical leave programs in the country. Businesses that employ one or more individuals in Massachusetts are subject to the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law and, beginning in October 2019, must begin remitting family and medical leave contributions to the Department of Family and Medical Leave through the Department of Revenue’s MassTaxConnect system on behalf of Massachusetts employees.
The employer contribution requirements differ based on the number of employees in Massachusetts. Specifically, employers are required to remit a contribution of 0.63 percent of eligible payroll. Employers with 25 or more employees may split the contribution between employee payroll deductions and an employer contribution pursuant to a contribution rate split determined by the statute and regulations. Employers with fewer than 25 employees must remit contributions on behalf of their workers to cover the portion of PFML contributions due from employees for family and medical leave, but they are not required to pay the employer portion of the contributions.
The following are the key dates for employers in the rollout of the Massachusetts PFML law.
- April 29, 2019: Approved Plan Applications Available to Employers. Employers already providing paid leave benefits to their workforce may be eligible to receive an exemption from collecting, remitting, and paying PFML contributions by submitting annually an approved plan application. The benefits offered to employees by an approved plan must be greater than or equal to the benefits provided by the PFML law to be granted an exemption.
- July 1, 2019: Notice Requirements. Employers must post a notice describing the benefits available under the law and provide each employee, within 30 days of hire, a written explanation of the employee’s rights. A workplace poster explaining the benefits available under the PFML law is available on the Department of Family and Medical Leave website. The website also has information about what is required to be in the notice provided to employees. Employers must collect signed acknowledgments of receipt of the notice from employees and, in some instances, from 1099-MISC contractors.
- July 1, 2019: Payroll Deductions Begin. Employers must begin deducting contributions from wages to W2 employees and, in some instances, payments made to covered individuals, i.e., 1099-MISC contractors making up a significant part of their workforce. As noted above, Massachusetts employers with workforces of 25 or more workers are responsible for paying a share of the required contributions.
- October 31, 2019: Contributions Due for July through September 2019. Employers remit contributions and any associated payments to the department through their MassTaxConnect account for the previous calendar quarter (July through September).
- January 1, 2021: Most Benefits Under the Law Available. Paid family leave benefits will be available under the law for bonding with a new child and for managing family affairs when a family member is on active duty in the armed forces. Paid medical leave benefits will be available for serious personal health conditions as set forth in the statute.
- July 1, 2021: All Benefits Under the Law Available. Paid family leave benefits will be available for the care of a family member with a serious health condition under the law.
While the actual leave provisions do not go into effect until 2021, employers will need to start making the required financial contributions later this year and should begin planning now for the new law, including making necessary changes to their current personnel policies and practices to comply with the Massachusetts PFML law.
If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Carolyn Marcotte, counsel, at email@example.com or Brian Whiteley, partner, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or another member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Area.