Your household employee is likely eligible for Massachusetts PFML (Paid Family and Medical Leave) benefits. Here’s what you need to know to comply with the law when it goes into effect on July 1, 2019.

Update (June 12, 2019): Massachusetts has decided to push back the start of Paid Family and Medical Leave contributions until October 1, 2019. The delay is intended to give employers more time to implement the program. Other details, including a possible contribution rate change to 0.75% and when notices need to posted, have yet to be announced.

Following the trend of states requiring employers to provide paid family and medical leave to their workers, Massachusetts is rolling out its Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program.

Massachusetts PFML will provide temporary income replacement to workers who are welcoming a new child into their family, are struck by a serious illness or injury, need to take care of an ill or ailing relative, and for certain military considerations. This benefit will be available to employees beginning in January 2021. However, compliance with the law begins shortly.

Massachusetts employers, including families employing a nanny or other household help to work in their homes, will be required to comply with the PFML law beginning July 1, 2019.

Sign up for alerts from the Department of Family and Medical Leave to get the latest information and updates on PFML.

Here are nine important details to know about Massachusetts PFML.

1. Compliance requirements

On July 1, 2019, you’ll need to:

  • Determine contribution amounts for your employees
  • Report wages paid and other information about your employees
  • Notify your employees of the PFML program including its benefits and protections

2. Notification requirements

Notification requirements include:

3. Employer contributions

Since, as a household employer, you likely have less than 25 workers in Massachusetts, you are not required to pay the employer share of the contribution for family and medical leave.

4. Employee contributions

You must deduct 0.63% of your employee’s pay with 0.52% going toward medical leave and 0.11% for family leave.

You can remit these contributions following each quarterly report filed with the Department of Family and Medical Leave through MassTaxConnect. The first quarterly submission is due October 31, 2019.

5. Eligibility requirements

There are earnings eligibility requirements for your employee if they want to take paid leave under Massachusetts PFML. They must have approximately 15 weeks or more of earnings and have earned at least $4,700 in the 12-month period before they apply for leave.

6. Use of Massachusetts PFML benefits

Starting January 1, 2021, your employee can use PFML benefits to:

  • Deal with their own serious medical condition
  • Bond with their child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth or the first 12 months after the placement of the child with them for adoption or foster care
  • Deal with any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces
  • Care for a family member who is a covered service member with a serious injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty

On July 1, 2021, your employee can claim benefits to:

  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition

7. Massachusetts PFML benefit amount

The weekly benefit amount is calculated as a percentage of your employee’s earnings and so will vary for each individual. The maximum benefit is $850 per week.

8. Caps on benefits

Paid medical leave is capped at 20 weeks per benefit year while the maximum amount of paid family leave is 12 weeks per benefit year. The most an employee can take off, combining family and medical leave, is 26 weeks per benefit year.

9. Exemption from Massachusetts PFML

If you already provide a paid leave benefit to your employees, you may be eligible to receive an exemption from collecting and remitting paid family or medical leave contributions for under Massachusetts’ PFML law.

To be granted an exemption, the benefits offered to your employees by your approved private plan must be greater than or equal to the benefits provided by the PFML law. You can apply for an exemption from the medical leave contribution, family leave contribution, or both. You’ll be able to apply for these annual exemptions through your MassTaxConnect account beginning April 29, 2019.

GTM can help

Clients of GTM Payroll Services can call (800) 929-9213 or email our client service team with questions about complying with Massachusetts PFML.

Not a GTM client? Take advantage of our free, no-obligation consultation with one of our household employment experts. Just call (800) 929-9213 and get answers on all things nanny tax, payroll, and compliance including Massachusetts PFML.

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