What Employers Need to Know about the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

June 10, 2019

PFML was delayed by three months to October 1, 2019. An updated alert with revised deadlines can be found here. 

Beginning in 2021, paid family and medical leave will be available to covered workers in Massachusetts through the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act(PFML) and will provide an employee with up to 26 weeks of paid leave in a benefit year. While covered workers will not be able to collect benefits until January 1, 2021, employers’ obligations start as early as July 1, 2019.

If you employ Massachusetts workers, you’ll be required to comply with the law. This includes non-profit organizations, religious institutions, and colleges and universities that employ students. It also applies employers that issue 1099-MISC tax forms for more than 50% of their workforce.

Below is a summary of what you need to know to be compliant:

  • June 30, 2019 – Notice to Employees

Employers must give their W2 employees and 1099-MISC contractors notice of the new law, including requirements and contribution rates. This includes posting a workplace poster in a highly-visible location and providing written notice. This notice must be signed and acknowledged by the employee by June 30th. More information on notice requirements is available here. New employees will need to be notified of the law within 30 days of their first day of employment.

  • July 1, 2019 – Payroll Deductions Begin

Payments will be administered through a state-administered Family and Employment Security Trust Fund, with financing provided through a 0.63% payroll tax on covered individuals’ earnings. Beginning July 1st, employers must begin to make payroll deductions (0.52% for medical leave; 0.11% for family leave). Reporting and documentation guidelines will be announced by the Department of Family and Medical Leave prior to July 1st.

Employers with 25 or more employees must contribute at least 60% of the medical leave contribution.

  • September 20, 2019 – Deadline to File for a Private Plan Exemption

Employers who provide a private paid leave benefit that is greater than or equal to the benefits provided by PFML can apply for exemption from medical leave contribution, family leave contribution or both. All requests for exemptions must be filed through MassTaxConnect by September 20th.

  • October 31, 2019 – Payroll Contributions Due

Employer collected payroll contributions will need to be submitted quarterly by filling with MassTaxConnect. July – September 2019 reports need to be submitted by October 31st.

For more information, please see the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave website or contact your Sherin and Lodgen attorney.