Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Updates – What You Need to Know | Mintz – Employment, Labor & Benefits Viewpoints

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The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (the “Department”) has issued a series of updates concerning Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (“MAPFML”). These updates reflect the latest changes made to MAPFML since the Department’s last quarterly briefing, as discussed in our prior coverage of the MAPFML.

New Publications

The Department has issued publications on a number of different topics to answer questions that employers may have concerning their responsibilities under MAPFML. This includes:

  • Switching between private paid plans and PFML covers the transition between public and private plans, such as the logistical steps an employer must follow in moving from a private plan to the state-managed public fund, the associated exemption terms and penalties on employers for doing so, and the impact on employee leaves during such transition.
  • Insurance carriers’ guide to PFML provides information to employers about private plan benefit requirements, the required notice to provide employees, details about tax withholdings, and the process for annual renewals.
  • PFML frequently asked questions for employers details general information about PFML, the application process, reviewing employee applications, managing paid time off and payments, and tracking other leave and income.

The Department also released a variety of resources for employee use, in order to understand their benefits under PFML.

  • Check the status of your Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) payments provides employees with an approved applications link to the portal to view payment history and the estimated date of their next payment, along with the reasons why payments may be delayed or cancelled.
  • Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) for your PFML account adds another layer of security to PFML accounts, allowing individuals the opportunity to add a cell phone number in order to verify their identity before logging onto the account.
  • Handout on other leave and income to report when applying for PFML details what other leave, benefits, or income employees should report (previous leave, such as FMLA; concurrent leave, such as PTO; concurrent income, such as disability, unemployment, social security, and workers’ compensation) and not report (previous leave, if taken pursuant to PFML; concurrent leave, such as PTO during the waiting week; concurrent income, such as supplemental insurance paid out of pocket) when applying for PFML.
  • PFML frequently asked questions for employees discusses general information, eligibility, the application process, nuances related to taking family leave to bond with a child, payment and taxes, and how to modify a current approved leave.
  • PFML frequently asked questions for health care providers provides general information about PFML, including how to fill out forms for patients requesting leave – such as the logistics of signing the form, determining the start and end dates of the medical condition and appropriate corresponding length of leave, and understanding what constitutes a serious medical condition.

Updated Guidance

The Department also updated the following previously published guidance for employer use.

In addition, employee resources have been updated accordingly.

In light of the updated guidance, employers should consider their obligations to comply with PFML whether they participate in the state fund or establish a private plan, their process for granting and tracking PFML leave and related benefits, the integration with their Company-provided paid time off benefits (including the overlap of any Company-provided parental leave policies), and how to best inform their employees of their rights under MAPFML. Employers who participate in the state fund should also ensure that they meet the quarterly requirement to report employee information and remit contributions to the Department.

For more information on your obligations and rights under MAPFML, you can find our prior posts on MAPFML and employer responsibilities here, here, and here. We will continue to provide additional guidance on MAPFML as issued by the Department.

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