May 09, 2019
Employment Law Alert
Employment Law Alert
Author(s): Jeffrey B. Gilbreth
The Department of Family and Medical Leave continues to release information and guidance regarding the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. By June 30, employers must provide Massachusetts employees and 1099-MISC contractors with written notice regarding PFML and must hang a PFML poster in its Massachusetts facilities. Also, employers can now apply for private plan exemptions.
The Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) has continued to release information and guidance regarding the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (“PFML”). Our previous alert about PFML can be found here.
Here are the highlights of the recent developments:
Set forth below are additional details about each of these developments.
By June 30, employers must provide Massachusetts employees and 1099-MISC contractors with written notice regarding PFML and must hang a PFML poster in its Massachusetts facilities. The DFML has released sample notices for both employees and contractors, and it has also released a sample workplace poster. Copies of those sample notices can be found here: W-2 employees, 1099-MISC contractors. A copy of the sample poster can be found here: poster. Employers should hang the poster as soon as possible in their Massachusetts facilities where similar workforce/human resources notices are posted.
Employers can customize these sample notice forms—for example, an employer can remove the section of the form and the associated check boxes regarding a private plan exemption if the employer is not pursuing a private plan exemption. If an employer elects to customize sample notice forms, the following information is required to be included:
Employers must collect from each individual to whom it provides notice a signed acknowledgement of receipt of the notice (or note the individual’s refusal to sign the acknowledgement). Employers should consider imposing an internal deadline for all notice recipients to return a signed acknowledgement and ensure that acknowledgements are tracked and collected. Employers should follow-up with any individual who does not respond.
The poster and notices must be provided in English and each language other than English that is the primary language of five or more employees, provided that such other language is one of the 12 languages into which the sample notices and posters have been translated by the DFML.
On April 29, the DFML released the exemption application, which is located on MassTaxConnect. The DFML also released a document that lists all of the questions an applicant will be asked when applying for an exemption.
Employers can apply for an exemption for the medical leave payroll tax contribution, the family leave payroll tax contribution or both contributions if their private plan satisfies all of the terms and conditions set forth in the law and regulations. Many employers are finding their current plans do not meet or exceed those terms and conditions, and are concluding that updating or amending their policies, insurance policies and procedures is proving to be more burdensome and costly than expected.
Employers applying for an exemption will complete the application questionnaire on MassTaxConnect and will immediately receive a conditional approval, or a denial. If a conditional approval is received, the employer will then be required to submit follow-up documentation of their private plan details, which the DFML will review. DFML will then make a final determination regarding the employer’s application for an exemption. Once an exemption is approved, the exemption will be in effect for one calendar year. Applications for the first quarter (beginning July 1, 2019) have been extended until September 20, 2019. Employers can reapply annually for an exemption, and all approved private plans are subject to audits throughout the year.
To ensure compliance with the PFML, all employers with Massachusetts workers should take the following actions:
Nixon Peabody labor & employment attorneys are available to assist you in navigating these updates in Massachusetts law.
The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel. If you have any questions or require any further information regarding these or other related matters, please contact your regular Nixon Peabody LLP representative. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.
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