Massachusetts Enacts Paid Family and Medical Leave

On June 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed Bill H.4640 into law. The bill establishes a mandatory statewide paid family and medical leave program, which will be administered by a new Department of Family and Medical Leave. The leave program will be financed through employer and employee contributions.

Beginning in 2021, eligible employees may take protected paid leave for certain family and medical reasons. Effective July 1, 2019, employers must:

  • Comply with a new workplace poster requirement and new hire notice; and
  • Begin remitting contributions for the paid family and medical leave program.

Covered Employers

All Massachusetts employers must comply with the paid family and medical leave requirements. However, employers with fewer than 25 employees in Massachusetts will not be required to pay the employer portion of premiums for the paid family and medical leave program.

Eligible Employees

Virtually all employees working in Massachusetts will be covered individuals who are eligible for paid family and medical leave benefits. There are no restrictions on length of employment or other eligibility requirements, other than having a qualifying reason for paid leave benefits

For purposes of paid family leave, an employee’s family member includes the employee’s:

  • Spouse or domestic partner;
  • Child (biological, adopted, foster, legal ward or child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis—that is, in place of a parent—or a person whom the employee stood in loco parentis when the person was a minor);
  • Parent, including parents-in-law and a parent of the employee’s domestic partner;
  • Grandchild and grandparent; and

Employer Notification Requirements

Effective July 1, 2019, employers must conspicuously post a workplace notice that informs employees of benefits provided under the paid family and medical leave program. The Department is to provide a model poster for employers to use. Employers will be required to post the notice in English, as well as in the primary language of five or more employees of the employer’s workforce (if the translated notice is available from the Department).

In addition, effective July 1, 2019, employers must provide each new hire, within 30 days from the employee’s start date, with written notice detailing the new family and medical leave program. The employer must obtain each new hire’s written acknowledgement of receipt of the information above, or have the employee sign a statement that he or she refused to sign the acknowledgement. The Department is to provide a model new hire notice for employers to use. The notice must be provided to the employee in the employee’s primary language.

For questions about employee benefits you can contact our Benefits Advisor, Rich Volkmann.  For more information on the upcoming changes to the leave program, click this link to read the full article.   Massachusetts Enacts Paid Family and Medical Leave