Massachusetts to Require Paid Family and Medical Leave

Recently, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker signed into law a number of new tax and workplace provisions, including a new paid family and medical leave benefit for Massachusetts employees.

July 27, 2018

Becomes 6th State to Enact Paid Family Leave Law

Recently, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker signed intolaw a number of new tax and workplace provisions, including a new paid family and medical leave benefit for Massachusetts employees. Below are details that will be relevant to employers.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

The law provides, among other things, the following:
  • Effective dates: Employers will begin making payroll contributions to fund the new leave program on July 1, 2019. Employees will be eligible to take paid medical leave under this new program beginning on January 1, 2021 and paid family leave on July 1, 2021.
  • Length of leave: Employees will be eligible for up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave and up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, up to a combined maximum of 26 weeks of paid leave in a given year.
  • Amount of pay: Eligible employees will receive up to 50% of the state average weekly wage replaced at the rate of 80% plus the portion of the employees average weekly wage that is more than 50% of the state weekly wage replaced at 50%. The maximum weekly benefit amount from the program will be $850 per week.
  • Eligible employees: To qualify for paid family and medical leave under this program, employees must meet the financial eligibility requirements for receiving Massachusetts unemployment compensation.
  • Employer contribution: The leave program will require employers with over 25 employees to pay 60% of required contributions for medical leave. Employees will be required to pay 40% of required contributions for medical leave and 100% of required contributions for family leave.
  • Types of leave: Employees will be able to use family and medical leave to care for their own or a family member’s serious health condition; to bond with the employee’s child during the first 12 months after birth or placement for adoption or foster care; because of any qualifying exigency arising from a family member being on active duty or begin notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the armed forces; or to care for a family member who is a covered servicemember.
  • Family members: For purposes of this law, “family member” includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent of a spouse or domestic partner, person standing in loco parentis, grandchild, grandparent, or sibling.
  • Employer opt-out: Employers may opt out of the state leave program if they provide benefits that match or exceed those in the state program.

Massachusetts will issue proposed regulations implementing this leave program by March 31, 2019. We expect that there will be substantial guidance in the coming months to assist employers in implementing this leave program, including guidance on coordinating various types of leave.

Next Steps

We recommend that employers with employees in Massachusetts:

  • Review current leave policies determine whether changes to leave accruals, recordkeeping procedures, or other benefit policies are necessary;
  • Work with HR, payroll, and any third-party vendors to determine what steps, if any, are needed to comply in the coming months; and
  • Stay up to date on implementing regulations and guidance from Massachusetts. We will update our members on new developments.

More Information

Link to new law:

An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave and the Sales Tax Holiday

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