Updates To Massachusetts Paid Family And Medical Leave
Massachusetts employers should be aware of a number of changes under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”) law that went into effect on January 1, 2022. (For more information on the PFML statute, please see our previous e-alerts here and here.)
These recent changes under the PFML law include updates to the maximum weekly benefit amount, contribution rates, and notice requirements for employers.
Weekly Benefit Amount
The PFML law provides a weekly cash benefit to employees who are on PFML leave. Due to recent increases in Massachusetts’s average weekly wage, the maximum amount that an eligible employee can now receive in PFML benefits has increased from $850.00 to $1,084.31 per week.
Although the maximum weekly benefit amount for employees has increased, the contribution rates for employers under the PFML law have actually decreased. The contribution rate for employers with 25 or more covered individuals has been reduced from 0.75% to 0.68%, and the rate for employers with fewer than 25 covered individuals has been reduced from 0.378% to 0.344%.
The proportions of PFML contributions that employers may withhold from covered individuals’ wages have not changed. Therefore, employers can still withhold up to 100% of the family leave contribution from covered individuals’ wages. Employers with 25 or more covered individuals can still withhold up to 40% of the medical leave contribution from covered individuals’ wages, while employers with fewer than 25 covered individuals may withhold up to 100% of the medical leave contribution from covered individuals’ wages.
Massachusetts employers are required to provide notice of these changes to all employees as soon as possible. As a reminder, the notice to employees must include an explanation of the benefits available under the PFML, employee rights and protections, current contribution rates, the procedure for notifying the employer of a need for PFML, and the process for filing a claim for benefits. The notice must also provide an opportunity for the employee to acknowledge or decline receipt of the notice.
The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has posted updated workplace notification forms and the mandatory PFML workplace poster on its website. Employers should also ensure that any handbook policies or internal documents regarding the PFML are updated to reflect these new contribution rates and maximum benefit amounts.
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If you have questions about the Massachusetts PFML law or your organization's responsibilities under it, please feel free to contact one of our experienced employment lawyers.