United States: Latest Developments And Deadlines Regarding The New Massachusetts PFML Law

David J. Santeusanio is a Partner and Stephanie M. Merabet is an Associate in our Boston office.

Important deadlines concerning the new Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law are approaching. In June 2019, the Massachusetts legislature passed legislation to delay the start of employer and employee contributions until Oct. 1, 2019 (the PFML Delay). Over the past few weeks, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (Department) issued its final regulations governing the program and addressed questions regarding the program.

This Holland & Knight alert provides an overview of the new deadlines and the substantive changes to the implementation and administration of PFML as reflected in the final regulations and additional information released by the Department.

New Employer Deadlines

New Implementation Deadline: Employers must begin payroll deductions for PFML contributions on Oct. 1, 2019 (an extension from the prior deadline of July 1, 2019).

New Contribution Rate: The PFML Delay postponed payroll deductions for three months, but it did not delay the date employees may start taking PFML (on Jan. 1, 2021, and July 1, 2021, respectively, depending on the type of leave). To account for the revenue that would have been generated during the PFML Delay and ensure that the PFML program will have adequate funding by 2021, the Department adjusted the contribution rate to 0.75 percent (an increase from the prior contribution rate of 0.63 percent).

New Notice Requirements: The Department granted employers additional time to provide their workforces with written notice of their rights under PFML, until Sept. 30, 2019 (an extension from the prior deadline of June 30, 2019). If an employer has not yet provided its workforce with written notice of PFML and obtained a written acknowledgment of receipt of the information from each employee (or a statement indicating the employee's refusal to sign), it should use the updated templates published by the Department, including the notices to employees and 1099-MISC contractors, which reflect the changes to the PFML. If an employer provided its workforce with notice before the PFML Delay, it must issue the workforce an updated rate sheet, explaining the new dates and contribution rates resulting from the PFML Delay. Employers are still encouraged to display the workplace poster as soon as possible, which has also been revised by the Department to reflect the changes to PFML.

Other Changes to PFML

The Department's final regulations are substantially similar to the Department's previous draft regulations. A few significant clarifications and additional information provided by the Department are highlighted below.

Certain Categories of Employment Are Excluded from PFML: The Department has announced that certain types of employment that are excluded from the unemployment statute are also excluded from PFML. Accordingly, certain employees are not eligible for PFML, including:

  • work-study students, student nurses and interns of work trainee programs administered by nonprofit or public institutions
  • real estate brokers/salespeople and insurance agents/solicitors in commission only jobs
  • employees of churches and certain religious organizations
  • employees in the railroad industry, or
  • services performed by inmates of penal institutions
  • services performed for a son, daughter or spouse
  • if under 18, services performed for one's father or mother
  • newspaper sales and delivery by persons under 18

Employers May Require Employees to Use Intermittent PFML in Increments: An employer may require an employee to take PFML leave in increments that are not shorter than a time period designated by the employer and not greater than four consecutive hours.

Employers May Not Be Required to Restore Employees to Short-Term Jobs: An employer is not "required to restore an employee who was hired for a specific term or only to perform work on a discrete project, if the employment term or project is over and the employer would not otherwise have continued to employ the employee."

Employers May Pay Different Contribution Rates for Different Groups of Employees: An employer may deduct different percentages from the wages of different groups of covered individuals, so long as it does not require any employee to pay more than 40 percent of the medical leave allocation or 100 percent of the family leave allocation.

Employers May Apply for a Private Plan Exemption Only Once Per Quarter: An employer may apply for a private plan exemption no more than once per quarter. Accordingly, if the Department denies the employer's application, the employer must remit PFML contributions to the Department and wait until the following quarter to reapply.

Three-Year Record Retention Requirements for Approved Private Plans: An employer with an approved private plan must retain all reports, information and records related to the approved plan, including those related to all claims for benefits made under the plan,for three years and furnish such records to the Department upon request.

Penalty for Failure to Maintain an Approved Private Plan: An employer who fails to maintain an approved private plan, orhas approval withdrawn by the Department, may be assessed a penalty equal to the employer's annual payroll (or covered workforce it failed to maintain a plan for) multiplied by the annual contribution rate. Additionally, an employer who fails to renew or maintain a private plan approved for the future payment of PFML scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2021, may be responsible for retroactive contributions to the Department.

Non-Renewal of Private Plans: An employer who does not intend to renew its approved private plan must provide notice to individuals covered by the plan at least 30 calendar days prior to the termination date. An employer must continue to provide paid leave benefits under the private plan's terms and conditions for the entire duration of an employee's leave, provided such leave began prior to the private plan's termination date.

What Are the Deadlines?

Based on the PFML Delay and updates provided by the Department, below are key upcoming dates.

  • Now: Display the new "Notice of Benefits Available Under M.G.L. Chapter 175M Paid Family and Medical Leave" poster, which has been updated by the Department to reflect the new Oct. 1, 2019, implementation date, in a conspicuous location where other workplace posters are located.
  • Sept. 30, 2019: Distribute written notices to employees and covered individuals who are 1099-MISC contractors, and obtain written acknowledgments from those workers recognizing their receipt (or a statement indicating the individual's refusal to sign such acknowledgment). If an employer provided written notices to its workforce before the announcement of the PFML Delay, it will need to provide its workforce with updated rate sheets explaining the new dates and contribution rates, which are explained in more detail below.
  • Oct. 1, 2019: Employers begin PFML payroll deductions.
  • Dec. 20, 2019: Deadline for employers to apply for private plan exemptions for the Family Leave Program and the Medical Leave Program, or both.
  • Jan. 31, 2020: Employers must remit employee and (if applicable) employer contributions for the Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 quarter through MassTaxConnect.
  • Jan. 1, 2021: Paid family leave benefits available for bonding with a new child, service member-related leave and for serious personal health conditions.
  • July 1, 2021: Paid family leave benefits available for a family member's serious health condition.

Holland & Knight will continue to monitor newly released information from the Department and will provide further updates as more information becomes available. In the meantime, for assistance with understanding the PFML, issuing the required written notices and implementing changes to your policies or procedures, please contact the authors or your Holland & Knight attorney.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions