What is Massachusetts Paid Family Leave?
Massachusetts Paid Family Leave (MA PFL) is a state program that allows employees and certain independent contractors or self-employed individuals to take up to 26 weeks of leave, paid for by contributions from the state.
Collections for premiums from both the employer and the employee begin on October 1, 2019, and will be deducted as part of payroll.
Who is eligible?
Massachusetts W-2 employees (full-time, part-time, or seasonal)
Generally, PFML follows the same eligibility criteria as the unemployment insurance program in Massachusetts. If the employee’s wages are reported to the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), those employees are eligible.
Massachusetts 1099-MISC contractors*
Generally, an MA 1099-MISC contractor is an individual or sole proprietor who resides and performs services in Massachusetts for whom you are required to report payment for services on IRS Form 1099-MISC. These individuals must be performing services in your trade or business or be regularly engaged to perform services for you.
*Contractors are ONLY covered if they comprise >50% of the company’s Massachusetts workforce. We calculate average workforce by each month by counting the number of active W2 employees, and then we check how many contractors also had the member status of "active" at the end of the month. The average workforce for the calendar year of 2018 determines contractor eligibility for the following calendar year (2019).
Eligible members cannot opt out of the benefit. If they decline to acknowledge the in-app notice, this does NOT make them ineligible, nor does it stop premiums from being deducted from the employee’s paycheck.
For more or who is eligible, visit the MAPFML site.
How does it work?
Leave taken cannot be concurrent with other state & federal leave laws (Commonwealth’s Parental Leave act, the federal FMLA, the commonwealth’s Earned Sick Time Act).
Covered individuals are limited to 12 weeks of family leave in a given benefit year, in the case that an individual is taking family leave to care for a covered service member they will have a maximum benefit period of 26 weeks.
Covered individuals are not eligible for medical leave for more than 20 weeks in a given benefit year, if they take both family and medical leave in a given benefit year the aggregate cap for both is also 26 weeks.
This will not impact covered individuals from medical leave during pregnancy or to recover from
childbirth so long as it is supported by documentation from the healthcare provider. The 7 day waiting period is waived in this instance.
What does my company need to do?
Massachusetts requires that employers display a workplace poster that explains the benefits available to your workforce under the PFML law. This poster must be displayed in a place that is viewable and accessible for all employees.
If you have remote employees, you must send them an electronic copy.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.