The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Family & Medical Leave re-published DRAFT regulations on March 29, 2019, to clarify procedures, practices, and policies in the administration and enforcement of the Family and Medical Leave Law, effective July 1, 2019.   Two public hearings will be held beginning in May to promulgate the final regulations ahead of the statute’s July 1 deadline.

The regulations are not final and could be modified; below is a summary as of the date of this publication:

Under the law, the paid leave program consists of both medical leave and family leave. Funding of either the medical or family leave components is derived from employee and employer contributions. Employers with fewer than 25 employees, however, are excused from the employer contribution requirement. The law also imposes on employers additional new compliance obligations, i.e.: employee notice, employee sign off, and continued employer health insurance premium contribution during leave.

Although there are similarities with FMLA, there are some significant new employee rights and protections that exceed FMLA requirements.  There is ample time, however, for employers to become familiar with the law which will be effective on January 1, 2021.

Recommended Actions:

Your Massachusetts employee workforce headcount will dictate whether you have to make a required employer medical leave contribution.  Employers with fewer than 25 Massachusetts employees can require their employees to make 100% of the family leave and 100% of the medical leave components. Headcount is determined by the previous calendar year (2018).

  • Determine (by July 1, 2019) what type of program funding option you will follow:
    • ​​State program
    • Self-funded private program
    • Fully insured private program

The law requires an employer to apply for an exemption from the state program contributions with the Department of Family & Medical Leave if the employer wishes to pursue a fully insured or self-funded option. The application will be available through MassTax Connect beginning April 29, 2019. No insurance carrier has yet to offer a fully insured solution at this time.
 

  • Make certain that your company is registered on the MA Dept. of Revenue (DOR) Tax Connect.

Participation in the State program requires registering with the DOR to file quarterly earnings reports.  The DOR should determine contributions for each employer, based on earnings and will advise of the required contribution payment. Payment is due 30 days from the end of the quarter.

  • Provide notice to employees before July 1, 2019.
Employees will need to understand and be prepared for the additional deduction in their paychecks. Please see the poster under Additional Resources below.

 

Additional Resources