What is Paid Family Medical Leave?
Paid Family Medical Leave establishes a system for paid family and medical leave benefits for employees, independent contractors, and self-employed persons who work in the State of Massachusetts. Effective January 1st, 2021, employees can take up to twelve weeks of family leave to care for a family member and up to twenty weeks for your own illness during a benefit year. The maximum combined amount of paid family and medical leave an employee can take is capped at twenty-six weeks per benefit year.
What circumstances are covered Individuals able to take leave?
Covered employees are able to take Paid Medical Leave to deal with their own serious medical conditions. Separately, individuals covered by Paid Family Leave have the option to take leave for the following reasons:
- To care for a family member who has a serious health condition (not until July 1, 2021)
- To bond with your child during the first twelve months after the child’s birth or the first twelve months after the placement of the child with you for adoption or foster care
- To 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
- To 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
How is Paid Family Leave funded and collected?
Both employees and employers contribute to the Paid Family Medical Leave fund by collection and payment of payroll contributions. Note: Employers should begin collecting this tax by July 1st, 2019.
The contribution rate is equal to 0.63% of the maximum taxable earnings ($132,900.00). Contribution rates will be determined each year based on the projected benefit costs for each benefit year. The Massachusetts Government website features a handy visual aid and breakdown of how contribution rates can be split between employee and employer.
Employees can be deducted up to 40% of the total medical leave contribution required for an individual AND up to 100% of the total family leave contribution required for an individual.
All employers who employ one or more individuals OR issue 1099s to more than 50% of your workforce are subject to Paid Family Medical Leave guidelines and must submit a quarterly file of contributions on behalf of covered individuals.
If you employ less than 25 employees or covered individuals, you are required to submit the employee contribution per law guidelines but are not required to pay the employer portion of the contribution. On the other hand, if you employ more than 25 employees, you must submit employee contributions and pay the employer share of the contribution.
The average number of employees will be determined by counting all full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary employees for each pay period and dividing by the number of pay periods in the previous calendar year.
Exemptions: If you currently provide or contribute to a private family and medical leave plan, you can apply for exemptions under the state offered plan.
Note: StratEx has worked with our tax system partners (Symmetry and MasterTax) to ensure that this accrues systematically and that we have an efficient solution for filing.
Employees are required to provide 30 days notice to their employers detailing the anticipated start date of their leave, the anticipated length of their leave, type of leave, and the individuals expected return date. However, if for reasons beyond an employee’s control notice cannot be provided, the law still applies, and leave must be provided.
Employers must conspicuously post on each of its premises a notice of benefits available under this law. The notice must be posted in English and in each language other than English that is the primary language of five or more employees of self-employed individuals of that work place.
The Massachusetts government website also included some frequently asked employer and employee questions. We know this law is complex, so feel free to reach out to your StratEx HR Consultant for questions!