Massachusetts' new paid family and medical leave (PFML) website includes employer and employee FAQs as the state prepares to begin collecting contributions in July to fund program benefits starting in 2021. Employers may apply for state approval to offer a private plan instead of participating in the public program. However, no details on the approval process are available yet.
The Massachusetts law will let employees take job-protected family leave with partial wage replacement for up to 12 weeks to bond with a new child, care for a family member with serious health condition, or handle a military exigency. Employees can also take up to 20 weeks of medical leave for their own serious health conditions. Total PFML in any 52-week period will be capped at 26 weeks. PFML benefits will become available Jan. 1, 2021.
Employee and employer contributions will begin July 1, 2019. Employers will need to remit to the state trust fund 0.63% of each employee's wages up to the annual federal Social Security taxable wage base. Employees may be charged up to 40% of the required contribution for medical leave and 100% of the contribution for family leave. Employers with fewer than 25 employees in the state won’t have to pay any share of the contribution, but will need to collect and remit the employee portion.
The state will annually determine PFML contribution rates and the breakdown between family vs. medical leave based on projected benefit costs. The state has yet to post this year's contribution breakdown, but anticipates doing so before July 1.
The state has announced it will post draft regulations by Jan. 23 and will begin hosting in-person “listening sessions” starting Jan. 30. Final regulations are due by the end of March.