Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave

Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave

MA PFML

Employers with employees in Massachusetts who do not have an approved private plan must continue remitting contributions to the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (MA PFML) program. Benefits became available on January 1, 2021.
Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave
With few exceptions, all employers are required to provide Paid Family and Medical Leave. Almost all employees are eligible to receive benefits. The Hartford is offering fully insured coverage or administrative services only on self-insured private plans.

Key Dates

January 1, 2022: The MA PFML maximum weekly benefit increased to $1,084.31/week.
 
Annual Employer Renewal Schedule for Private Plan Exemptions:
 
  • 1/1 Approval- Must reapply by 12/31
  • 4/1 Approval- Must reapply by 3/31
  • 7/1 Approval- Must reapply by 6/30
  • 10/1 Approval- Must reapply by 9/30
The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) sends out reminder emails for renewals.

Tools & Resources

The Hartford has prepared guides to help employers with employees in MA.
 
 
 
Line on Leave Podcast Episode: MA & CT PFML Program Update (2020)
 
 
 
 
The MA DFML also provides resources to help employers.
 
 
 
 
The Hartford is providing this information as a resource and does not control the content of third-party websites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Eligible employees can take leave to:
 
  • Welcome a new child (through birth, adoption, or foster placement).
  • Recover from a personal illness or injury.
  • Care for an ill or injured spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandchild or grandparent.
  • Care for an injured (while in the line of duty) or sick service member.
  • Respond to certain military-connected events.
Employees may be entitled to the following per benefit year up to a total of 26 weeks combined for Paid Family and Medical Leave:
 
  • Up to 12 weeks of Family Leave (includes active duty family military leave, bonding time and care of a family member)
  • Up to 20 weeks of personal Medical Leave
  • Up to 26 weeks of caregiver benefit for service member
During the leave period, eligible employees will be paid a percentage of their average weekly wage, not to exceed $850.00 per week for leaves beginning in 2021 and $1,084.31 for leaves beginning in 2022.
State Plan:
 
The state program is funded through contributions, also called premiums, equal to a percentage of each employee’s wages, up to the Social Security maximum. The combined employee and employer contribution percentage is 0.75% in 2021 and decreases to .68% in 2022 for employers with 25 or more covered individuals.
 
How employers and employees share the cost:
 
Rates for 2021
 
  • Medical leave – up to 40 percent of 0.62% of gross annual wages up to the Social Security maximum may be paid by an employee, a minimum of 60 percent must be paid by an employer with 25 or more covered individuals.
  • Family leave – up to 100 percent of 0.13% of gross annual wages up to the Social Security maximum may be paid by employee, 0 percent may be paid by the employer. The employer may choose to fund all or part of the employee’s contribution.
 
Rates for 2022
 
  • Medical leave – up to 40 percent of 0.56% of gross annual wages up to the Social Security maximum may be paid by an employee, a minimum of 60 percent must be paid by an employer with 25 or more covered individuals.
  • Family leave – up to 100 percent of 0.12% of gross annual wages up to the Social Security maximum may be paid by employee, 0 percent must be paid by an employer. The employer may choose to fund all or part of the employee’s contribution.
 
Private Plans:
 
A private plan can be fully insured or self-funded. Under a private plan, the employer will pay premium or if self-funded, fees and the cost of claims. The employer is responsible for any premium or fees/claim costs in excess of the state employee contribution limit but can also choose to pay more. Private plans from The Hartford are underwritten and rates may vary.
 
Under a private plan, employee contributions may include the following:
 
For Paid Medical Leave the lesser of:
 
  • 40% of the state rate; or
  • 40% the actual rate, if less than the state rate
 
For Paid Family Leave the lesser of:
 
  • 100% of the state rate; or
  • 100% the actual rate, if less than the state rate
Note that if more than 50 percent of an employer’s workforce are 1099 contractors, those contractors are considered “covered individuals.” An employer must remit contributions for them just as it does for its other employees.

The employer remits premiums collected to the state on a quarterly basis. The due date is the last day of the month following the close of the previous calendar quarter.
Bill frequency will be on a quarterly-in-arrears basis or monthly for some customers of The Hartford.
If an employer is a small business with fewer than 25 employees, the employer is not required to pay the employer portion of the state plan contributions. Employees will still pay into the program, though, and can take advantage of full leave benefits.
 
Under The Hartford’s private plan, employers with fewer than 25 employees will contribute towards the premiums.
No, The Hartford offers private plan coverage down to 1 life. The Hartford will offer stand-alone private plan coverage for employers with 25 or more employees in MA.
Businesses and organizations with one or more employees are subject to the MA PFML law. Exceptions include:
 
  • Self-employed individuals (may opt in to the state plan).
  • Municipal employers (may opt in if city or town decides to take part in program).
To qualify for benefits in 2022, the employee must have earnings in Massachusetts totaling at least $5,700 (adjusted annually) during the last four completed calendar quarters and 30 times the weekly unemployment benefit amount they would be eligible to collect. All paid work over the course of the year counts toward this requirement, including part-time, seasonal, and temporary work. 
 
With The Hartford’s private plan, employers may choose to waive the Financial Eligibility requirement. If employers choose to include a Financial Eligibility requirement, it will mirror the requirements of the state plan.
MA PFML allows employers to opt out of either the state Family Leave or state Medical Leave plan if they have an approved private Paid Family Leave, Paid Medical Leave or Paid Family and Medical Leave plan that offers comparable or more generous benefits than the plan. However, employers should be aware that separating the Medical from the Family Leave under different administrators could result in errors and create additional administrative burden and inconvenience to employers and employees, whether fully or self-insured. For more information on the advantages of single administration, see Tips for Choosing a Private or State Plan.
 
  • Private Plans need state approval.
  • The employee contribution amount for a Private Plan is the same as for the state plan.
  • Private Plan exemptions must be renewed and approved by the state annually.
  • If a Private Plan exemption is approved, employers must still remit contributions to the until the first day of the quarter on which the approval becomes effective.
  • Employers may contribute more or waive employee contributions if they wish.
  • Self-insured plans must be bonded. Your representative can help you with a bond solution from The Hartford. See the bond requirements from Department of Family and Medical Leave.
Employers need to submit an updated and signed “Confirmation of Insured Policy Form Number” form to the DFML when renewing a private plan exemption. The MA DFML website describes the process for doing so. 
 
Note: This is a relatively new form (2020) and is an important change from original guidance for employers who received an exemption using a carrier’s approved Declaration of Insurance.
Massachusetts employers are required to distribute materials notifying employees of MA PFML benefits and withholdings. Workplace posters must be displayed and employers are also required to provide written notice to new employees. Notices must include the opportunity for an employee or covered contract worker to acknowledge receipt or decline to acknowledge receipt of the information. Customers of The Hartford will receive employee communication resources.
 
For state plans, employee communication materials and requirements can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave website.
The Hartford is offering fully insured coverage as well as administrative services only on self-insured private plans. For more information on our private plan options visit: Private Plan Options from The Hartford.
Please reach out to your employee benefits representative at The Hartford for additional information.
 
1 For reference and consistency with updates for other statutory jurisdiction, we will refer to The Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a “state” program. 
 
MA Paid Family & Medical Leave Form Series includes GBD-1852
 
7473 NS 01/22
This informational material is subject to change as The Hartford continues to receive guidance from states and municipalities. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for legal compliance with respect to an employer’s business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute The Hartford’s undertaking on a company’s behalf, or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that an employer’s business operations are in compliance with any law, rule, or regulation. Employers seeking resolution of specific legal or business issues, questions, or concerns regarding this topic should consult their own attorney or business advisors; and employees should continue to consult their employers’ Human Resources or other employment benefits department for guidance on the application of any law, rule, or regulation.
The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries, including Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company under the brand name, The Hartford®, and is headquartered at One Hartford Plaza, Hartford, CT 06155. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice at www.thehartford.com. All benefits are subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. Policies underwritten by the underwriting company listed above detail exclusions, limitations, reduction of benefits and terms under which the policies may be continued in force or discontinued.