Effective January 1, 2022, the Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) contribution will reduce to .68% of payroll (from .75% in 2021) on the first $142,800 of wages (from $128,400 in 2021). The maximum weekly PFML benefit will also increase to $1,084.31 (from $850 in 2021).
These changes are the result of the Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave of Massachusetts’ fiscal year 2021 annual report, which released the PFML updates that will be effective January 1, 2022.
Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave Benefits Implementation Process Complete
Beginning January 1, 2021, employees who met certain financial requirements (earned at least $4,700 during the last four completed calendar quarters, and 30 times the weekly benefit amount they are eligible to collect) became eligible for:
- Up to 12 weeks of paid leave in a rolling 12-month period for the birth of a child, to bond with a child after birth, or after the placement of the child for adoption or foster care to care for a family member with a serious health condition
- Up to 20 weeks of paid leave in a rolling 12-month period for the employee’s own medical condition
- Up to 26 weeks of paid leave in a rolling 12-month period for certain military connected events
Beginning July 1, 2021, employees became eligible for the final piece – up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
The amount of leave available to employees is capped at 20 weeks per 12-month period for medical leave and 12 weeks per 12-month period for family leave. The maximum combined family and medical leave that an employee can take is capped at 26 weeks in a rolling 12-month period.
The weekly benefit is calculated as a percentage of pay based on the average weekly wage. For 2021, the maximum weekly benefit based on an Average Weekly Wage of $1,487.78 is $850. With the Average Weekly Wage increase to $1,694.24, the maximum weekly benefit increases to $1,084.31 as of January 1, 2022.
Employees can estimate the benefit payment they will receive while on leave by using the Massachusetts Benefits Calculator.
Paid Family and Medical Leave Funding – 2021
The DFML set initial contributions beginning October 19, 2019 at .75% of payroll based on the employee’s first $128,400 in wages. This percentage was allocated between medical leave (.62%) and family leave (.13%)
Employers with 25 or more employees in the state of Massachusetts were obligated to pay 60% of the medical leave (.372%) and 0% of the family leave. Employees were obligated to pay .248% (the remaining 40% of the medical leave) and .13% (100%) of the family leave.
Employers with fewer than 25 employees working in Massachusetts were not obligated to contribute and simply remit the employee share of the premium (.248% for medical leave and .13% for family leave).
Paid Family and Medical Leave Funding – 2022
For 2022, the contribution rate reduces to .68% of payroll based on the employee’s first $142,800 in wages. The allocation for 2022 is .56% for medical leave and .12% for family leave.
Employers with 25 or more employees in the state of Massachusetts will be obligated to pay 60% of the medical leave (.336%) and 0% of the family leave. Employees will be obligated to pay .224% (the remaining 40% of the medical leave) and .12% (100%) of the family leave.
Employers with fewer than 25 employees working in Massachusetts are not obligated to contribute and simply remit the employee share of the premium (.224% for medical leave and .12% for family leave).
Employers who offer a private plan for their employees that is at least as generous as what is required under the law can apply for a private exemption and opt out of the state PFML plan. Employers will need to apply for an exemption annually. The PFML website provides details on applying for an exemption.
Other Employer Responsibilities
Employers are required to inform employees about their benefits and rights under the PFML by displaying or providing a poster for employees.
In addition, employers must have a registered Leave Administrator with the DFML who will be responsible for reviewing and processing employee claims on behalf of the organization, and employers must maintain records and documents containing medical information relating to PFML requests in separate files.
The Massachusetts PFML Toolkit provides detailed information for remitting payments, registering a Leave Administrator, language rules for posters, and other relevant information.
Disclaimer: The intent of this analysis is to provide the recipient with general information regarding the status of, and/or potential concerns related to, the recipient’s current employee benefits issues. This analysis does not necessarily fully address the recipient’s specific issue, and it should not be construed as, nor is it intended to provide, legal advice. Furthermore, this message does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Questions regarding specific issues should be addressed to the person(s) who provide legal advice to the recipient regarding employee benefits issues (e.g., the recipient’s general counsel or an attorney hired by the recipient who specializes in employee benefits law).