PFML is coming for Massachusetts workers. Find high-level answers to your questions on what it is, who it affects, when it’s happening as well as links to where to find more detailed answers.
What is PFML?
PFML stands for Paid Family Medical Leave. It’s a state-offered benefit for anyone who works in Massachusetts and is eligible to take up to 26 weeks of paid leave for medical or family reasons. PFML is funded through a Massachusetts tax, and is separate from both the federally mandated benefits offered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and from leave benefits that may be offered by employers.
Who’s covered by PFML?
PFML is available to covered individuals who work in Massachusetts. Covered individuals include:
- W-2 workers who work in Massachusetts, whether they are full-time, part-time, or seasonal
- Self-employed individuals
- Independent contractors who work for a business that issues Form 1099-MISC for more than 50% of its workforce
How does PFML work and how much does it cost?
Based on the initial rate of 0.75%, the allocation of PFML contribution rates beginning October 1, 2019 is 0.62% for medical leave and 0.13% for family leave on covered wages up to the Social Security wage limit of $132,900 for 2019.
- Employers with fewer than 25 employees.100% of the contributions are paid by employees; however, employers may pay some or all of the employee contribution.
- Employers with 25 or more employees. Employees are responsible for 100% of the family leave contribution of 0.13%. Employers may withhold up to 40% of the medical leave portion of the contribution from employees’ wages. Based on the medical leave rate of 0.62%, employers must calculate their contributions at a minimum of 0.372% and may withhold up to 0.248% of employees’ wages and up to 100% of required contributions for family leave.
Can your workers opt-out?
If the employee is a covered individual, they cannot opt out.
If the worker is self-employed, they are not required to contribute, but can choose to opt-in.
Employers can apply for an exemption from collecting, remitting, and paying PFML contributions. However, the company plan must have benefits greater than or equal to the benefits provided by the PFML law, as well as the same rights and protections.
Certain employers are not required to contribute to PFML, but can choose to opt-in.
When can PFML be used?
PFML benefits will become available on January 1, 2021.
Paid family leave may be taken to:
- Care for a sick family member
- Bond with a newborn child
- Bond with a child after adoption or foster care placement
- Manage family affairs when a family member is on active duty in the armed forces
Paid medical leave may be taken to:
- Manage a personal serious injury or illness
What do you need to do?
Employers, determine what your contributions will be, what kind of reporting you’ll need to do, and how to do these things, as well as the other requirements and preparations you need to make.