October 21, 2019

October 21, 2019

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Final Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Regulations Published and Other PFML Updates

The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) has posted the much-anticipated final regulations regarding Massachusetts’ Paid Family and Medical Leave law (“PFML”). The final regulations come on the heels of Massachusetts lawmakers’ recent extension of key PFML compliance dates. While the final regulations are materially unchanged from the previous draft issued March 29th, the following substantive additions and clarifications are worth noting:

  • Private Plan Clarifications: The bulk of the revisions to the draft regulations concern clarifications regarding employers’ rights and obligations when their own private leave plan satisfies the requirements for exemption from the PPFML contribution requirements. First, employers with approved private plans must retain information and records related to their plans, including any documentation related to employees’ claims for benefits. They must retain all such records for three years and furnish them to the DFML upon request. Second, there are penalties for employers who fail to maintain or renew approved-private plans prior to January 1, 2021. Third, the regulations provide instructions for employers when an employer does not renew their private plan, including notifying covered individuals and the DFML of their intent not to renew.

  • Intermittent Leave: Employers are allowed to require that any intermittent PFML be taken in certain minimum increments, but the required minimum must not be greater than four consecutive hours. For example, an employer may require that an employee use PFML time off in minimum increments of two hours at a time, but not five hours.

  • Deduction Percentages Among Different Groups of Employees: Employers may choose to deduct different percentages from different groups of covered individuals for purposes of making contributions, provided that no deductions exceed the maximum deduction allowed. In other words, there is not a strict requirement that deductions be equal across the entirety of an employer’s workforce.

  • Change of Contribution Rates: The regulations reflect the change in the total combined contribution rate pursuant to the PFML extension, now increasing from 0.63% to 0.75% of employee qualified earnings.

Separately, the DFML has also posted new template notices that employers can use to fulfill the requirement of informing their workforce of their PFML rights, benefits, and obligations before September 30, 2019. Revised notices to Massachusetts W-2 employees are available on the DFML’s website here, and notices to Massachusetts 1099-MISC contractors are available here. Notably, in each instance, the Commonwealth has provided template notices for employers with twenty-five or more covered individuals and for employers with less than twenty-five covered individuals. Previous templates did not make such a distinction.

As a reminder, despite the recent extension of compliance dates, deadlines are nonetheless quickly approaching, including the deadlines to notify covered workforces, to begin withholding contributions, and to submit an application for an exemption . Employers are encouraged to reach out to counsel for further guidance.

© 2019 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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About this Author

Mark W Batten, Labor & Employment Attorney, Proskauer Law Firm
Partner

Mark Batten is a Partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Class/Collective Action Group, resident in the Boston office.

Mark represents employers nationwide at all stages of complex employment litigation, including class and collective actions on wage and hour matters and discrimination claims. Ranked by Chambers USA, Mark is hailed as “a fabulous lawyer, handling interesting and complex cases.” Clients “highly recommend him to anyone seeking litigation counsel in the Boston area,” as well as note “he is...

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Samantha L. Regenbogen, Labor & Employment, Proskauer Law Firm
Associate

Samantha Regenbogen is a law clerk in the Labor & Employment Department. 

Samantha was a summer associate in Proskauer's New York Office, and was involved in drafting briefs and memorandums for both wage and hour class actions and single-plaintiff discrimination cases. Before joining Proskauer, Samantha was an intern with the Enforcement Unit of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, where she investigated complaints and drafted dispositions.

During her time at Harvard Law School, Samantha served as a board member of the Women's Law Association and was a cast member and artistic director of the HLS Parody.

617-526-9746
Thomas Fiascone Labor Employment Attorney
Associate

Thomas Fiascone is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department.

Tom earned his J.D. from Boston College Law School, where he was a senior editor and staff writer on the Boston College Law Review. During law school, Tom served as a judicial intern in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and was a tutor in BC Law’s Academic Success Program.

Prior to law school, Tom was a paralegal in Proskauer’s Labor and Employment Law Department.

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