Late yesterday afternoon, Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced that there was an agreement to delay the July 1st start date for employer contributions to the new Massachusetts Paid Family Leave program for three months. The contributions will now begin on October 1, 2019.
The purpose of the delay, according to the joint statement, was to give businesses more time to implement the required deductions. The bill will also allow for technical changes to clarify the program design. Among these technical changes is a clarification that the core principles of the Massachusetts law will align with the federal Family Medical Leave Act.
It currently appears that there will be an increase in the contribution rate from .63 to .75, to account for the three months of lost contributions. We do not yet know if they will also delay the June 30th deadline for providing notices to employees and covered independent contractors.
There is no change to the actual implementation of the leave benefit. Employees continue to be eligible to apply for portions of the benefit as of January 1, 2021. Payroll deductions are beginning in 2019 to ensure that the state has adequate funds to pay the benefit.
We will continue to strive to keep you updated about any new developments.
We have been fielding numerous questions from clients about the proper form of the notice, upcoming deadlines, and the ability to apply for an exemption (in whole or in part). We look forward to having additional time to work with clients on how to prepare for the new law.
You can refer to our prior newsletters on the Massachusetts Paid Family Leave program through these links or reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns: