By Mim Minichiello

As with anything, this FAQ is by no means exhaustive. Each employer will have unique scenarios and questions that may only apply to a subset of the population. We encourage you to read through all of this information, save it as a reference, but feel free to contact us to discuss the specifics to ensure your compliance with all regulations.

  1. What is MA PFML
    1. If the employee's company is based in NH but performs services in MA. Please explain how that works. If an out of state employer has employees that perform services in Massachusetts those employees are covered under the MA PFML.
    2. We are a summer program non-profit organization and have employees who are on a part time basis for the summer only. Are they eligible for the program, if they go out at a time when they are not employed will they still qualify? Yes. The definition of a covered employee eligible for benefits under the MA PFML includes a former employee who has: (A) met the financial eligibility test at the time of the former employee's separation from employment; provided, however, that all such employment shall have been with an employer in Massachusetts; and (B) been separated from employment for not more than 26 weeks at the start of the former employee's family or medical leave.
    3. How do you count to determine if you had 25 employees? Is it by FTEs or just headcount? The business shall count the total number of self-employed individuals with whom the business contracted for services during each pay period in the previous calendar year and was required to report the payment for such services on IRS Form 1099-MISC, plus the number of full time, part-time, and seasonal employees that the business employed during each pay period in the previous calendar year to determine whether it had fewer than 25 employees.
  2. Funding for MA PFML/Notifications
    1. Where do we get our DFML number? Your company FEIN is your DFML number.
    2. Can an employee opt out? No. Employees must pay their contribution should their employer decide to shift a portion of the required contribution.
    3. If the employer has fewer than 25 employees and is not required to contribute the employer share of the contributions is the employer still required to deduct and collect the employee share? Employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to pay the employer contribution but still must collect the employee share.
    4. What contribution percentage is an employer responsible for? The total contribution to be paid is 0.63 % of the employees’ wages up to a yearly wage of $132,900. An employer may shift a portion of the required contribution onto the employee (see chart).
      MA Paid Family Leave
    5. Can an employer choose to contribute the mandatory minimum to start and then increase their contributions the following year? Yes.
    6. How must employers communicate this to employees that they will be contributing into the state trust fund for 1.5 years but not eligible for the benefit until January 1, 2021? The state has provided a draft notice for employers to send to their employees. The notice must be provided to employees no later than June 30, 2019 for existing employees and within 30 days of a new employee starting employment. Here is the link link for the required notice: https://www.mass.gov/guides/a-guide-to-paid-family-and-medical-leave-for-massachusetts-employers#-notifying-your-workforce-.
    7. Are seasonal employees required to have deductions withheld? Yes.
    8. Are the employee deductions into this plan, pre-tax? As of now this is unknown. The State is requesting a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service.
    9. Are there mandatory contributions needed to be paid by employer? Are there a number of employees that dictate if you need to make employer contributions? The mandatory contribution is 0.63% of all of the employee’s wages. Employers have the ability to shift a portion of the required contribution onto employees. Contributions begin July 1, 2019. Employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to make the employer contribution but still must collect the employee share.
    10. How long does signed the acknowledgment need to be kept on file? Best practice is seven years after the employee leaves employment.
    11. What happens when you start the Quarter with 26 employees and end the Quarter with 24? Whether an employer will be required to pay the contributions will be based on the quarterly Employment and Wage Detail Report filed by an employer with the Division of Unemployment Compensation. If the Wage Detail Report indicates that the employer now has fewer than 25 employees the employer will not be responsible for the contributions for that quarter.
    12. I just need clarification on those that work remotely. We an employee that is based out of Utah and is considered a home office employee which is in Massachusetts. They complete their work in Utah but it's for the company in general. Should they be included? The regulations provide that an employer shall be considered a Massachusetts employer with respect to services performed by a covered individual for the employer, and a covered individual eligible for MA PFML shall be considered eligible if services are performed both within and without Massachusetts for an employer and the service is not localized in any state, but some part of the service is performed in Massachusetts and the individual's base of operations is in the commonwealth or, if there is no base of operations, then the place from which such service is directed or controlled, is within Massachusetts. In this situation the employee Massachusetts covered individual with respect to all services provided within, or both should be included given that the employee’s service is directed from the employers home office located in Massachusetts.
    13. We are a Maine-based company who has W-2 employees who live in MA and work in multi states including MA. Does this MA PFML apply to us? An employer shall be considered a Massachusetts employer with respect to services performed by a covered individual for the employer and a covered individual shall be considered a Massachusetts covered individual with respect to all services provided within, or both within and without Massachusetts for an employer if the service is localized in Massachusetts. Service shall be deemed to be localized within Massachusetts if the service is performed entirely within Massachusetts, or the service is performed both within and without Massachusetts, but the service performed outside Massachusetts is incidental to the individual's service within Massachusetts for example, is temporary or transitory in nature, or consists of isolated transactions.
    14. Does an employer have to calculate the shift of the required contribution before giving the employees their acknowledgement sheet so they can see how much it will be? Yes.
    15. Does the written notice need to be signed by all current employees or only new employees after 7/1/19? All employees now and in the future.
    16. Is the amount for the employee/employer share based on the total W-2 wages? Wages are defined in the regulations as having the same meaning as provided in the Massachusetts unemployment compensation law M.G.L. c. 151A and include: every form of remuneration of an employee whether paid directly or indirectly, including salaries, commissions and bonuses, and reasonable cash value of board, rent, housing, lodging, payment in kind and all remuneration paid in any medium other than cash.
  3. MA PFML Benefits
    1. Who is determining what qualifies or not? The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave.
    2. Do MA PFML and FMLA run concurrently or can it be used after the 12 weeks FMLA? Leave taken under the MA PFML shall run concurrently with FMLA and the Massachusetts Parental Leave and the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law.
  4. MA PFML Protections
    1. Our company currently pays 100% of the cost for health insurance. If an employee takes 26 weeks off pursuant to the MA PFML, do we have to pay 100% of the employees’ health insurance during the period the employee is on MA PFML leave? Yes, during the duration of the employee’s MA PFML leave the employer must continue to provide for and contribute to the employee’s employment related health insurance benefits at the level and under the conditions coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued working continuously for the duration of the leave.
    2. How is this to be integrated with our paid time off policies? If employee has accrued sick and/or vacation time, our policies require them to use all accrued time before going on unpaid leave. Employees may choose to use accrued paid leave provided by their employer rather than apply for a paid benefit under the MA PFML. Employees who choose to use accrued leave paid by the employer are required to follow the employer’s notice and certification processes related to the use of this leave. Employers are required to inform employees who choose to use accrued leave paid by the employer that the use of employer-provided leave accruals will run concurrently with the leave period provided by the MA PFML. Upon request from the Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave, employers shall report the use of accrued leave by employees for this purpose. Employees or covered individuals may not be compensated with paid leave benefits pursuant to MA PFML for a period of time for which they received compensation through the use of accrued paid leave.
  5. Exemptions
    1. Does the exemption, if approved, cover both employees and the employer? Yes.
  6. State Resources
    1. Do you anticipate a form similar to the M-4 form that an employee can complete upon hire? The required employee notification form can be found on the Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave at the following link - https://www.mass.gov/guides/a-guide-to-paid-family-and-medical-leave-for-massachusetts-employers#-notifying-your-workforce-.
    2. Can you send the link for the calculator? https://www.mass.gov/info-details/calculate-your-paid-family-and-medical-leave-contributions.
    3. Is there a form letter we should give our employees by June 30th, 2019 regarding this plan? Yes please click here for a state developed notification.
    4. Will MassTax Connect work with DETMA or must employers report to both systems separately? They will work together to determine the required contribution amounts.
  7. Status of Existing Short-Term Disability Questions
    1. How does this affect someone who has a Short Term Disability benefit through the employer? Paid leaves are not available until January 1, 2021 for medical leaves and July 1, 2019 for family leaves. It is anticipated that Short Term Disability carriers may be developing plans that will “meet or exceed” the leave and financial payments required by the MA PFML for employers to purchase to replace existing STD plans or supplement existing STD plans.
    2. Many employers offer short-term disability now. This will mean paying premiums into private insurance and also paying into a future plan. Do we drop our STD plan now? That is a decision to be made by each individual employer. Most employers will retain their current STD plans until STD carriers can formulate and market new STD plans that may “meet or exceed” the leave and benefit amounts in the Act.
    3. How does the Medical Leave allowance interact with employer's STD policies? Any payments received by an employee from a permanent disability policy or program of an employer will reduce the benefit amount that would be received by an employee as a result of the MA PFML.