July 6, 2020

Volume X, Number 188

July 06, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Massachusetts Department of Paid Family Leave Releases New Guidance

The current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis have brought paid family and medical leave to the forefront of the national consciousness. While the federal government and other states have created new, immediately effective, paid family and medical leave laws, Massachusetts has remained committed to the existing timeframe for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA), which will be effective January 1, 2021.

Despite the focus on the COVID-19 crisis, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts continues to prepare for the implementation of PMFLA in 2021. On April 7, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) announced new guidance for employers who have applied for or plan to apply for a “private plan” exemption and use a third-party insurer for the privately funded paid leave plan.

Employers who intend to use such a “private plan” provided by an insurance carrier must ensure the plan meets minimum state requirements. To that end, The DFML has worked in conjunction with the Department of Insurance (DOI) to verify private plans created by insurers. The DOI has released Filing Guidance 2020 – A: Paid Family and Medical Leave. Under the guidance, insurance carriers who offer private plans must submit the plans to the DOI for review before June 3, 2020. Once approved, the carriers will receive an approved policy form number.

While the guidance is intended for insurance carriers, it can assist employers as well. The guidance’s template paid family and medical leave policy contains the necessary provisions under the PFMLA. In addition, the DOI also released a checklist for compliant policies. Employers who have or plan to apply for an exemption based on a self-insured plan should review the template policy and the checklist to ensure their private plan meets the PFMLA requirements.

If an employer has already applied for and received an exemption based on a private insurance plan, that exemption is still valid, but the employer will have to provide the approved policy form number during the exemption renewal period. If an employer is filing for an exemption based on a plan created by its insurance carrier, but it has not yet received a policy form number from the carrier, the employer should submit its insurance declaration document signed by the employer’s representative and the carrier’s representative. If an employer has a policy form number already, the employer should submit its insurance declaration document with the policy form number.

Importantly, if an employer plans to use a paid leave program funded by the employer to fulfill its PFMLA obligations, it does not need to submit anything to the DOI or receive a policy form number.

The other deadlines under the PFMLA remain the same. Employers without an exemption must remit funds to the Family and Employment Security Trust Fund on April 30, 2020, as scheduled. The benefits available to employees under the PFMLA are still scheduled to begin on January 1, 2021.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 101

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Jeffrey S. Brody, Jackson Lewis, employee discipline attorney, disability management lawyer
Principal

Jeffrey S. Brody is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He exclusively represents management in workplace law, including counseling and litigation. Mr. Brody routinely advises clients regarding day-to-day employment issues, such as employee discipline and discharge, disability management issues, reductions in force, and restrictive covenants. He also regularly conducts training programs for employers on a variety of employment-related topics, such as performance management, sexual harassment awareness, and disability...

(617) 367-0025
Matthew D. Freeman, Jackson Lewis, Boston, absence issues lawyer, wage hour litigation attorney
Principal

Matthew D. Freeman is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He routinely advises clients regarding compliance with state and federal labor and employment laws, including those related to employee discipline and discharge, disability management and leave of absence issues, wage and hour issues, and reductions in force.

Mr. Freeman also regularly advises clients regarding traditional labor law issues, including employer rights and obligations under collective bargaining agreements and the National Labor Relations Act. He has defended employers in litigation in state and federal courts, including wage and hour class action litigation and litigation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and has represented employers in administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and the Maine Human Rights Commission. Mr. Freeman has also represented employers in arbitration and in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board.

(617) 367-0025
Samia Kirmani, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Unemployment Counseling Attorney
Principal

Samia M. Kirmani is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She concentrates her practice in employment counseling, training and litigation on behalf of management.

Ms. Kirmani provides practical legal advice to clients on various employment law issues, including discrimination, health and leave management, reductions in force, retaliation and whistleblower matters, individual separations, and employee relations issues. Ms. Kirmani also assists clients with policy creation, revision and...

617-367-0025
Brian E. Lewis, Jackson Lewis, disability management issues lawyer, restrictive covenants attorney
Principal

Brian E. Lewis is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He exclusively represents management in all facets of workplace law.

Mr. Lewis routinely advises clients regarding day-to-day employment issues, such as employee discipline and discharge, disability management issues, proper payment of wages, reductions in force, and restrictive covenants. Mr. Lewis also has experience in representing clients on traditional labor law issues, and has appeared before the National Labor Relations Board. He...

617-367-0025
Matthew C. Chambers Labor and Employment Lawyer Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Associate

Matthew C. Chambers is an Associate in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling.

617-367-0025