What is Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave?
Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave (MA PFML) 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*
While contractors paid via Form 1099-MISC may be eligible for Massachusetts PFML, it’s important to note that recent guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave states that employers paying an individual who will have their wages reported via Form 1099-NEC are exempt from remitting Massachusetts PFML contributions on that indvidual’s behalf. Currently, all payments issued to contractors through Justworks are categorized as 1099-NEC pay. However, you can find further guidance here on whether you are required to make contributions on behalf of any of your Massachusetts contractors.
*1099-MISC 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 MA PFML site.
How does it work?
Leave taken under MA PFML may run concurrently with other state & federal leave laws, depending on the specific situation (Commonwealth’s Parental Leave Act, the federal FMLA, the commonwealth’s Earned Sick Time Act).
Most Massachusetts employees are eligible for up to 26 weeks of combined family and medical leave per benefit year. You can take leave for a qualifying reason. A qualifying reason is the cause or event that makes you unable to work and eligible for Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits.
Qualifying reasons are:
Caring for your own serious health condition as certified by a health care provider, including illness, injury, or pregnancy/childbirth (up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave)
Caring for a family member with a serious health condition as certified by a health care provider, including illness, injury, or pregnancy/childbirth (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)
Bonding with your child during the first 12 months after birth, adoption, or placement (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)
Caring for a family member who was injured serving in the armed forces (up to 26 weeks of paid family leave)
Managing affairs while a family member is on active duty (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)
A benefit year is 52 weeks starting on the Sunday prior to the first day of paid leave through any leave program. You can take more than one kind of leave in a benefit year, but the maximum amount of paid leave you can take in a benefit year is 26 weeks. More information on qualifying reasons for leave as well as possible leave schedules can be found here.
How do my employees file a claim to receive benefits?
Employees can apply for benefits at this website administrated by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Any company information requested while filing a claim should reflect an employee's worksite employer as opposed to Justworks information.
If you have any questions about eligibility or how to file a claim you can contact the Department of Family Medical Leave at (833) 344-7365.
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.
Filing premiums with the state
You are required to have a MassTaxConnect (MTC) withholding tax account (active or inactive) to submit the required information. In order for Justworks to file MA PFML withholdings on your behalf as your PEO, you will have to log into your MTC account to grant Justworks Third Party Access (TPA).
If you have not yet created a MassTaxConnect account:
- Follow all instructions found in this video to create a withholding account.
- Return to this page and follow the instructions below to grant Justworks TPA.
If you already have a MassTaxConnect account:
- Go directly to the MassTaxConnect portal here and login.
- Under “I Want To” section click on “Add an account type/new location/new license”.
- Select Paid Family Medical Leave.
- Fill out all the information requested and create your new account.
- Grant Justworks Third Party Access (see below).
How to grant Third Party Access:
- Login to MassTaxConnect and click on "Manage my profile" in the top right corner of the Home page.
- Select "More..." and then "Assign Access Rights to a Third Party."
- Search for and select "Justworks Employment Group LLC" in the Third Party Directory, then click "Next" to see a list of your tax accounts.
- Check the "Give Rights" check box in for your Paid Family and Medical Leave account, and select the “File and Pay” permissions in the "Access Rights" column
- Click the Next button, review, and then click the Submit button to confirm.
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.