On June 13, 2019, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an emergency bill amending the Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) law. The bill, and subsequent guidance provided by the Massachusetts Department of Paid Family Medical Leave (Department), change three key deadlines under PFML. The new deadlines are:
- September 30, 2019 — Employers and covered business entities are required to post a notice and provide written notice to their current workforce. The Department is expected to issue updated written notice forms and posters next week.
- October 1, 2019 — Payroll withholdings begin for the October 1 to December 31 quarter.
- December 20, 2019 — Deadline to file for a private plan exemption for first quarter contributions.
- January 31, 2020 — First quarterly contribution payment due through MassTaxConnect.
As a result of the three-month extension of these deadlines, less money will be contributed to the trust fund from which PFML benefits will be paid. To offset this shortfall, the total contribution rate has been adjusted from 0.63% to 0.75% of employee qualifying earnings.
In addition to extending these deadlines, the emergency bill also revised other aspects of the PFML. For example, as a result of the amendment, covered individuals seeking intermittent leave or a reduced schedule are now required to submit a statement by a health care provider that the covered individual is unable to perform the functions of the covered individual's position, a statement of the medical necessity for intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule, and the expected duration of the intermittent leave or reduced leave schedule.
The Department expects to issue final draft regulations on June 17, 2019, which may provide further guidance regarding employers' obligations under PFML. We will continue to update clients on any new developments under the PFML.
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