Based on feedback that the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) received from key stakeholders and industry participants, it has changed some upcoming deadlines. Specifically, the workplace notification and private plan exemption deadlines have been pushed back.
Poster and Notice Requirements
As we wrote about in a recent blog post, covered employers must post in their workplace the state-approved PFML poster and provide written notice about PFML to existing employees (and to all newly hired employees going forward). This posting and notice deadline was recently pushed back from May 31 to June 30, 2019. The notice may be provided electronically but be aware that employers must obtain a signed acknowledgment of receipt from all Massachusetts employees and 1099 contractors to acknowledge that the notice was received.
Private Plan Exemptions
Beginning April 29, 2019, employers who wish to opt out of the state PFML program may submit their private plans for approval by the state. By using a private plan, whether self-funded or insured by a private insurance carrier, the employer becomes exempt from remitting contributions into the PFML fund.
A private plan must be approved in the quarter prior to the quarter in which it will go into effect. On May 1, 2019, the DFML extended the deadline to file for a private plan exemption for Q1 contributions for paid family and medical leave. The deadline for a Q1 contribution exemption has been pushed back from June 30 to September 20, 2019. The intent is to offer employers more time to consider private plan options. According to the DFML, if an exemption request is denied, the employer will be responsible for remitting the full contribution amount from July 1, 2019, forward.
As a reminder, the benefits offered by a private plan must be greater than or equal to the benefits provided by the PFML law to be eligible for an exemption from the state program. In addition, employers may apply for an exemption from the medical leave contribution, family leave contribution, or both. When applying for an exemption, employers must select whether they will use a self-insured plan, which requires proof of bond coverage or purchase a private plan through an insurer. More information, including bond requirements, may be found on the MA PFML website.
As always, ReedGroup will stay on top of these developments and will keep you informed as the MA PFML program progresses.