Massachusetts Finalizes Regulations to Implement Paid Family and Medical Leave

The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) recently concluded its public hearing and comment period for the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program regulations.  The regulations are final as of July 24, 2020 and can be found here: Final Massachussetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Regulations

The regulations contain many revisions and clarifications. We summarize some of the key regulations below:

  • Job Protected Leave. Clarifies that an employee on leave for reasons associated with the MA PFML program, regardless of whether an application for benefits has been submitted, will be entitled to job protected leave. The leave will run concurrently with MA PFML leave benefits and an employee’s MA PFML and benefit allotment will be reduced accordingly (not including time taken prior to January 1, 2021). (See Regulations, 458 CMR 2.02, 2.12(6), 2.12(8))
  • Employer Exemptions. Offers details on the process by which an employer can apply for exemption from the requirement to make contributions for medical leave coverage, family leave coverage, or both. In addition to other requirements, this process requires that the employer provide a private plan to receive an exemption and that the private plan must provide an appeal process before a covered individual can exercise its right of appeal with the DFML. (See Regulations, 458 CMR 2.07)
  • Coordination between Employer, Employee and DFML. Provides additional information on the coordination of information between the DFML, an employer, and an employee:
    • An employee’s obligation to provide notice of the need for family and medical leave to the employer prior to an application to the DFML for benefits. (See Regulations, 458 CMR 2.08(2)(c))
    • The DFML will request information from the employer regarding whether the employee’s request has been approved, denied, or is pending upon the receipt of additional information. The employer has 10 days to respond. (See Regulations, 458 CMR 2.08(6))
  • Determination. Provides a checklist of information the DFML will evaluate in making a determination:
    • confirmation that the covered individual provided the required notice;
    • the financial eligibility test;
    • certification;
    • whether the request was approved or denied by the employer and the reason(s) for the approval or denial;
    • whether the covered individual has yet taken the; and
    • any other relevant information (See Regulations, 458 CMR 2.09(2)).
  • Intermittent Leave. Provides that for intermittent leave, the employee must verify with the DFML the hours of leave taken each week to receive benefit payments. Also establishes that intermittent leave can be taken in increments consistent with the established policy of the employer. The DFML will not pay in increments of less than 15 minutes and will not accept applications for benefits associated with intermittent leave until the employee has 8 hours of accumulated leave time, unless more than 30 calendar days has lapsed since the initial taking of such leave. (See Regulations, 458 CMR 2.10(1), 2.02).
  • Waiting Period. Clarifies that there is no waiting period for a family leave that immediately follows a period of medical leave during pregnancy or recovery from childbirth. (See Regulations, 458 CMR 2.12(7)).

With the January 1, 2021 date for benefits for the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical leave quickly approaching, carriers and employers should be sure they are ready! Simplify the complex with FINEOS Absence that supports private Massachusetts paid Family and Medical Leave plans for full benefit payment and leave entitlement functionality as well as the ability for carriers to track MA PFML benefits when an employee files for PFML benefits with the DFML program.   The FINEOS Integrated Disability and Absence Management (IDAM) solution brings together the robust FINEOS Absence, the market-leading FINEOS Claims and FINEOS Payments to develop a single book of record for all absence management related services, including paid leave. If you’re ready to simplify the complex landscape of absence management, contact us at info@FINEOS.com.

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