Massachusetts is now accepting applications for exemptions from the commonwealth's Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law.
Exemption applications are available on the Department of Revenue's MassTaxConnect site
- A decision will be made within 1-2 business days letting employers know if a private plan exemption is approved, according to the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave. Employers can download the list of questions that will be used to determine if your self-insured plan would be approved. Employers then will be asked to upload a copy of the plan.
The deadline to file for a private plan exemption for the start of the program is now December 20, 2019; the previously announced deadlines were June 30 and then September 20. Contributions to the state PFML plan are now due January 1, 2020, although you have until January 31, 2020 to remit payment.
Applications for a private plan exemption will be accepted on a rolling basis. A private plan must be approved in the quarter prior to the quarter in which it goes into effect.
Employers will have to submit an application each year for the private plan exemption.
Employers with less than 25 employees in Massachusetts do not need to pay into the state Paid Medical Leave plan but still need to collect and remit employee contributions to the state.
Employers may use an approved private insurer for Paid Family Leave, Paid Medical Leave or both. Self-insured private plans must be bonded. The Massachusetts Department of Family Medical Leave requires that for every 25 employees a self-insured plan has a bond value of:
- $19,000 for Paid Family Leave
- $51,000 for Paid Medical Leave
- $70,000 for both Paid Family Leave and Paid Medical Leave
Learn more about the bond requirements for approved self-insured plans.
What MA Paid Family & Paid Medical Leave Plans Must Include
The benefits of a private plan must be better or equal to the benefits of MA PFML and must not cost employees more than the state plan.
Though final regulations will not be announced until July 1, 2019, the commonwealth has said a covered individual’s weekly benefit will be capped at $850 and be determined by a percentage of an employee’s average weekly earnings.
The length of leave under the state plan will be:
- Up to 20 weeks Paid Medical Leave a year
- Up to 12 weeks Paid Family Leave a year for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child
- Up to 12 weeks Paid Family Leave a year for a qualifying exigency from a family member on active duty or impending call to active duty in the Armed Forces
- Up to 26 weeks of Paid Family Leave a year to care for a family member who is a service member with a serious health condition
- Up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition
The state limits the total time of Paid Medical Leave and Paid Family Leave combined to 26 weeks in a 52 week timeframe. The maximum period for Paid Medical Leave is 20 weeks within a benefit year. Paid Family Leave is capped at 12 weeks per benefit year.
Employees will pay 0.75 percent of their taxable wages, up to the Social Security maximum, to fund their Paid Family Leave and Paid Medical Leave benefit under the state plan. Employees pay 100 percent of the cost of Family Leave benefits. The cost of Medical Leave under the state plan is shared by employee and employer, with the employee paying 40 percent of the cost. The contribution rate split for employers with over 25 qualified employees is illustrated below:
The Hartford’s PFML Administration Services
If you are planning to file a self-insured plan with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we offer review services to help ensure that your plan matches the state's requirements. At this time, we do not offer a fully-insured replacement for the state Paid Family Leave or Paid Medical Leave programs. We can administer your approved self-insured plan for Paid Family Leave, Paid Medical Leave or both, on an Administrative Services Only (ASO) basis, when added to your existing fully-insured Short-Term Disability plan with The Hartford. With one point of contact claims reporting for Disability and/or Paid Leave, we support your employees and simplify their claims experience. We recommend accommodations and help you create equitable plans while promoting employee health and wellness when they are ready to return to work.
Please check back at https://www.thehartford.com/pfml-ma as MA PFML regulations are finalized and the program begins July 1, 2019. Please contact your representative from The Hartford if you have any questions.
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