people looking at work bulletin board

On April 17, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (Department) released its required workplace poster and employee notices to inform employees about their rights and responsibilities under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (MA PFML).

Workplace PFML Poster

The poster includes key implementation dates to inform employees that payroll deductions to fund PFML benefits will begin on July 1, 2019, with benefits beginning on January 1, 2021 and July 1, 2021. The poster also outlines weekly benefits, job protection, anti-discrimination and retaliation protection, and private plans.

All Massachusetts employers must display this approved poster in a conspicuous workplace location where it may be easily read. For employers who have five or more individuals whose primary language is not English, translated posters in the applicable language(s) must be displayed as well. Currently, the Department offers online posters in Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Employee Notices

Massachusetts employers also must provide individual written PFML notices to their current workforce no later than May 31, 2019, and to all newly hired employees thereafter (within 30 days of the first date of employment). The notice may be provided electronically and must be written in the employee’s primary language. Employers must also implement a process to allow each employee to acknowledge receipt or decline to acknowledge receipt of the notice, either in paper or electronic form.

Written notice to employees (W-2 workers) must include:

  • An explanation of the availability of PFML benefits;
  • Employee and employer contribution amounts and obligations;
  • Employer’s name, mailing address, and ID number (as assigned by the Department);
  • Instructions on how to file a claim for PFML benefits; and
  • The Department’s mailing address, email address and telephone number.

Sample notices in English and other languages are available on the Department’s website.

Contractor Notices

Employers also must provide written notice about the MA PFML to contract workers (1099-MISC). Like the notice to employees, the notice to contractors must be written in the contractor’s primary language and employers must obtain a written statement from the contractor acknowledging receipt or denial of acknowledgment of receipt of the notice. Sample notices for use with contractors are also provided on the Department’s website in multiple languages.

Penalties

Employers who fail to provide the required notifications face significant fines on a per-employee/worker basis. For a first violation, the fine is $50 per employee or contractor. Second violations will result in fines of $300 per employee or contractor.

What Employers Need to Do

Massachusetts employers should complete the following steps:

  • Download the MA PFML workplace poster in English and any other languages applicable to their workforce and post them at their worksites in conspicuous places by May 31, 2019.
  • Send out individual written notices to all current employees and 1099 contractors in each worker’s primary language no later than May 31.
  • Retain the signed acknowledgment-of-receipt forms.
  • Update onboarding documentation to include the written MA PFML notice so that new hires receive the required PFML information within 30 days of hire.

 

Information provided on this blog is intended for general educational use. It is not intended to provide legal advice. ReedGroup does not provide legal services. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this or any other topic.