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Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML)  in conjunction with the Department of Insurance (DOI) published continued guidance as it prepares employers and employees for the implementation of Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (MAPFML) benefits on January 1, 2021.

DFML has assured the public that it remains committed to the original time frame for benefit applications beginning January 1, 2021, as well as the required deadlines for employers. The newly issued guidance is created for private-plan employers, insurers, and administrators, and contains an approved private plan template in addition to a compliance checklist. Carriers developing MAPFML policies must submit the plans to the DOI prior to June 3, 2020 in order to receive an approved policy form number. After the DOI approves the carrier’s forms, the carrier may issue MAPFML policies to their employer policyholders.

As a reminder, employers required to provide MAPFML benefits have the option to apply for a private plan exemption as long as the plan’s benefits are equal to or more generous than those provided under the state MAPFML program. Employers may fully insure through an insurance carrier or self-insure the exempt plan. Employers who self-insure need to post a bond. Exemption applications and approvals take effect on a rolling quarterly basis and can be filed here. Updated information about bond coverage and deadlines may be found here.

What employers should do

Covered employers should determine whether they will offer a self-insured private plan, purchase a policy to cover MAPFML benefits from an insurance carrier, or continue to contribute to the state program. If self-insuring, employers should ensure their policy, bond, and exemption application follow the Department’s guidance for approval. If obtaining coverage from an insurance carrier, obtain the policy form numbers from the carrier when available, as the policy number must be submitted by employers at the time of exemption renewal. If utilizing the state PFML program, continue to make required quarterly contributions and make sure you have hung the required workplace poster and provided the required written notice to employees and new hires.

What ReedGroup is doing

ReedGroup has been posting updates on progress toward MA PFML since 2018 – our latest post on the subject can be found here, and our first post on MA PFML is here. ReedGroup worked with its private plan employer and carrier partners to ensure our products and services were ready to administer private plan MAPFML benefits as of January 1, 2021. Additionally, ReedGroup provides concurrent benefit offset calculation support for those employers choosing the state plan option. If you’re not already a ReedGroup client, and are interested in working with ReedGroup to administer your private plan benefits, please click here to connect with us.

As paid family and medical leave becomes more common across the US, many employers are opting to outsource absence management, or to switch to software that is purpose-built to manage employee leaves of absence. If you’re looking for assistance managing claims or to ensure compliance across your organization, ReedGroup has solutions for you. Check out our offerings here.


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.

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