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Although employees won’t be able to receive the benefits of the new Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (“MAPFML”) law until 2021, employers’ obligations under the legislation begin on September 30.
Signed into law by Governor Baker in June 2018, the MAPFML provides eligible employees with up to 26 weeks of job-protected paid family or medical leave each year. Employees will be eligible to receive a maximum benefit of $850 per week while on leave to take care of their own serious health condition, the serious health condition of a family member, or to bond with a new child.
The benefit is being funded by a payroll tax of 0.75% that will be split between certain employers and all employees; this rate will be adjusted annually. All employers are required to comply with the MAPFL. However, those with fewer than 25 employees are not required to pay the employer portion, although they still will need to deduct the tax from employees’ wages and comply with certain reporting requirements. Temporary employees do not count when determining the applicability of the MAPFML.
Employers with 25 or more employees must pay a minimum of 60% of the medical leave component (while being permitted to deduct the remaining 40% from employees’ earnings), but they also may deduct the full amount of the family leave contributions from employees’ earnings. Smaller employers may deduct 100% of both the medical and family leave contributions from their employees’ earnings.
- September 30, 2019: By September 30, 2019, all employers are required to notify their employees about both the benefits of MAPFML and the contribution rates. The two key components to the notice requirement are: (1) a workplace poster—available on the Department of Family and Medical Leave’s website here— must be displayed conspicuously and (2) written notice must be provided to all employees. The notice may be provided electronically and the employees must be given an opportunity to acknowledge receipt. Employers are to retain copies of all acknowledgments.Going forward, employers must inform all new employees and independent contractors about the MAPFML.
- October 1, 2019: Employers must start making deductions from wages and payments for services in order to fund their first quarterly contribution. Contributions are submitted through the Department of Revenue’s MassTaxConnect system. Deductions during the quarter from October 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019, are due on January 31, 2020.
In addition to these upcoming deadlines, by October 1, 2019 the Department of Family and Medical Leave is expected to announce the reporting and documentation guidelines for the period beginning January, 2020.
Keeping abreast of this new Massachusetts employment law is critical for employers; those that fail may be liable for up to 0.75% of their entire payroll.