The Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member or bond with a new child, and up to 20 weeks of paid leave to address their own serious medical issues. The law sets an aggregate maximum of 26 weeks of paid leave per benefit year. To be eligible for paid family and medical leave, an employee must meet the financial eligibility requirements for receiving unemployment compensation under Massachusetts law (i.e., the employee must have earned 30 times the weekly unemployment benefit he or she would be eligible to receive and earned at least $6,000 during the last four calendar quarters).
Each year, the Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) assesses and updates contribution and benefit amounts for the coming year.
For 2023, the overall PFML contribution rate has decreased from 0.68% to 0.63% of eligible wages for employers with 25 or more covered individuals. The PFML contribution rate for smaller employers – fewer than 25 covered individuals – decreased from 0.344% to 0.318%.
For employers with 25 or more covered individuals, the 0.63% contribution rate is split between a required medical leave contribution of 0.52% and a family leave contribution of 0.11% of an individual’s eligible wages. Employers may withhold up to 40% of the medical leave contribution to a maximum of 0.208% and 100% of the family leave contribution to a maximum of 0.11% from an employee’s eligible wages. Employers are responsible for any amounts greater than the employee’s maximum allowed amounts.
For employers with fewer than 25 covered individuals, the 0.318% contribution rate is split between a medical leave contribution of 0.208% and a family leave contribution of 0.11%. Employers may withhold the entire contribution from an employee’s eligible wages. Unlike larger employers, smaller employers are not required to contribute towards an employee’s medical leave contribution amount unless they offer a private plan with rates greater than 0.208% for medical leave and 0.011% for family leave.
While the contribution rates have been reduced, the maximum weekly benefit eligible employees may receive while taking PFML will increase from $1,084.31 in 2022 to $1,129.82, effective January 1, 2023.
Employers must provide employees with notice of the new contribution rate at least 30 days in advance of the rate change. Notice can be provided electronically and is not required to be acknowledged by each employee. Since these changes take effect on January 1, 2023, this means employees shall receive notice by December 2, 2022.
Other Best Practices
In addition to reviewing and updating existing policies, employers may want to consider reminding and reiterating to managers and supervisors that an employee’s use of PFML (or other protected leave) should play no role in employment decisions.
Employer Next Steps
- Employers with Massachusetts employees should be familiar with these changes and update payroll contributions. If you are a Full-Service client, HRK will make the rate updates
- If you are a Broker Only client, provide notice to all current employees of the contribution rate changes for 2023 at least 30 days in advance, or by December 2, 2022
- Continue to provide notice to newly hired employees of their eligibility to take leave under MA PFML within 30 days of hire.
- If you are a Full-Service, Brokerage, or Virtual HR client and would like our assistance with updating your policy or have questions about employer obligations, please email us.
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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.