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Massachusetts Businesses and the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

Every year, businesses in Massachusetts have to review their policies and procedures to make sure they are in compliance with any new state, federal, and local regulations. Going into effect on September 30, 2019, all private employers in Massachusetts will have to comply with the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law. By July 1, 2021, workers will be eligible for all PFML benefits. 

PFML Act for Massachusetts Businesses

Larger companies with 50 or more employees already have to comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, PFML applies to all Massachusetts employers, not limited to the size of the business. The PFML provides similar job protections for employees who have to temporarily leave work to care for a family member with a serious health condition. 

The law provides 12 weeks of job-protected, paid family leave to care for a family member, birth of a child, or take care of things if a family member goes into active duty. It also provides 20 weeks of job-protected, paid leave for a worker who suffers a serious health condition. 

The Family and Employment Security Trust Fund is funded by employees and employers with over 25 covered workers. Covered workers include all full-time, part-time, and seasonal W-2 employees and independent contractors. Benefits are based on a percentage of the employee's wages, up to a maximum ($850 per week for 2021).

When Does the PFML Act Go Into Effect?

The PFML went into effect on September 30, 2019, with a number of upcoming deadlines, based on the following: 

  • October 1, 2019: payroll withholdings begin
  • December 20, 2019: approved plan applications due for the first quarter of contributions
  • January 31, 2020: Contributions due for October-December 2019
  • January 1, 2021: Most benefits become available
  • July 1, 2021: All benefits available

By September 30, 2019, employers must display the PFML poster in a visible location in the workplace. Employers must also provide written notice to covered individuals about: 

  • PFML Benefits
  • Covered worker contribution rates
  • Employer contribution rates
  • Job protections

Employees can begin taking protected leave under the PFML on January 1, 2021, for medical leave (except care for family members). On July 1, 2021, all benefits, including leave to care for family members, will be available for covered workers.

Exemptions with a Qualifying Private Plan

Some employers will be able to claim an exemption from the PFML requirements if they offer a qualifying private plan that provides the same or greater benefits. If your business provides a plan with benefits greater than or equal to PFML benefits, you can apply for an exemption. The deadline for private plan exemptions for the first quarter of contributions must be filed by December 20, 2019. 

Experienced Massachusetts Business Lawyer 

For any other questions about the PFML, contact your Massachusetts business law attorney. The Katz Law Group has more than 36 years of experience representing businesses in Massachusetts and New England in planning, compliance, and business litigation. Contact the Katz Law Group today with all your business legal needs.

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