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UPDATED: Summer Break - Massachusetts Employers Get Extension on Paid Family and Medical Leave Implementation

UPDATE: The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave announced that along with the start of contributions being delayed from July 1, 2019 to October 1, 2019, the following aspects of the program are also delayed:

  • the deadline for providing notice to employees is delayed from June 30, 2019 to September 30, 2019;
  • the deadline for applications for an exemption from the state program is delayed from September 20, 2019 to December 20, 2019;
  • and the contribution rate is increased from .63 percent of an employee's wages to .75 percent of an employee's wages.

Those closely following the timeline for implementation of Massachusetts's new Paid Family and Medical Leave law are aware that on July 1, 2019, employers were required to begin making payroll withholdings for the program.

We say "were" because yesterday Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Karn Spilka, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced an agreement that contributions to fund the program, which were supposed to kick in on July 1, will be delayed until October 1, 2019.

The details of the delay remain unclear, including whether the deadline for distributing a notice about the program to employees – currently June 30 – will also be delayed. Regardless, there is now more time for employers to consider their options, such as whether to fully fund contributions or pass some amount on to employees, or whether to adopt a private paid leave plan and apply for an exemption from the program, and more time to explain the program to employees.

If you employ any individuals in Massachusetts, this statute applies to your company. We have heard that some people believe the statute applies only to businesses of a certain size. That is incorrect -- all Massachusetts employers have obligations under the Commonwealth's new paid family and medical leave law.

If you have any questions on what this new law means for your company and how to prepare, please contact attorney Samuel Baldwin or attorney Tawny Alvarez.