Massachusetts has enacted legislation (Senate Bill 2255) that will delay the implementation of contributions to the state’s paid family leave program and make other changes.
In 2018, Massachusetts enacted legislation that requires all private employers with employees in the state to provide paid family leave to eligible employees beginning January 1, 2021. The program will be funded by premiums paid by employees, employers with 25 or more employees, and the self-employed. Contributions to the program were scheduled to begin July 1, 2019.
Senate Bill 2255:
Under Senate Bill 2255, employers must begin withholding employee contributions on October 1, 2019 instead of July 1, 2019. For the October 1 to December 31 quarter, employers will be responsible for remitting employee and (if applicable) employer contributions for the through MassTaxConnect by January 31, 2020.
Contribution Rate Change:
The Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has announced that because of the delay in withholding contributions, it’s adjusting the total contribution rate from 0.63 percent to 0.75 percent of employee earnings.
Timeline Extended for Notices:
The 2018 law also includes several notice requirements for employers, including a workplace poster and a written notice to current employees and new hires about their rights and obligations. The DFML has announced that because of the delay employers now have until September 30, 2019, to notify all covered individuals of their rights and obligations. Employers must give new hires the notice within 30 days of their start date. The DFML is in the process of updating its model notices
The DFML also said that final regulations for the program will be posted on its website on June 17, 2019. They will take effect July 1, 2019.
In addition to delaying contributions, Senate Bill 2255 clarifies:
· That medical leave is available for eligible employees who are unable to perform the functions of their position (consistent with the equivalent provision in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act).
· When employees take leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis, it may not result in the reduction of leave beyond what the employee took on an intermittent or reduced-schedule basis.
· That the information required to certify medical leave includes a statement by the healthcare provider that the covered individual is unable to perform the functions of their position, a statement of the medical necessity, if any, for intermittent or reduced-schedule leave and, if applicable, the expected duration of the intermittent leave or reduced-schedule leave.
· The penalties for employers (with 25 or more employees) that fail to make contributions to the program.
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