Be Prepared: Massachusetts’ Paid Family Medical Act Takes Effect October 1

Adopted Baby's feet on mothers hands. Horizontal Shot.

The Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act (PFML) will now take effect on October 1. The new law will allow for paid leave for family and medical-related absences and will be funded through both employer and employee contributions to a trust established by the program. Please refer to our earlier blog post on the subject for further information on what this law means to you and your staff.

Because of the delayed implementation (the act was originally scheduled to take effect on July 1), the State has adjusted the contribution rates and effective dates.  Please note the following:

Although employees cannot take advantage of the new benefit until January 2021, employers and employees must begin funding the program on October 1, 2019. The contribution rate increased to .75% due to the implementation delay, and the employer share will depend on the number of workers employed.

  • Businesses with 25 employees or more in Massachusetts must contribute $7.50 of every $1,000 of wages earned, up to $132,900 annually. The employer is responsible for remitting the entire amount, but must contribute a minimum of $3.72 and can withhold up to $3.78 from each employee.
  • Businesses with fewer than 25 employees, including household employers (which is particularly relevant to JDJ clients), must withhold $3.78 per $1,000 earned from each employee, and remit contributions to the Department of Revenue on behalf of their workers. Such businesses are not required to pay the employer share of the contribution, but can choose to contribute in order to reduce the amount paid by employees.

Payroll administrators should begin the payroll deductions and reporting requirements effective October 1, 2019. In advance of this date, employers must post a workplace poster and provide written notice to their employees. You can download these materials here.

Businesses may still apply for a funding exemption if they offer paid leave directly to employees that matches or is more generous than the program’s benefits. The exemption application is due by December 20, 2019.

All of the program’s benefits are effective January 1, 2021, with the exception of leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, which is effective July 1, 2021.

More information is available on the state’s web site, or you can contact me or a member of your JDJ team for assistance.