Massachusetts Issues Final Amendments to PFML Rules

Final amendments to the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) regulations were published July 24, 2020, by the state’s Department of Family and Medical Leave. The amendments were first proposed in May 2020.

The Amendments

The amendments cover a range of subjects, and include changed or new definitions of accrued paid leave, average weekly wage, average working week and base period. Other amendments affect areas such as:

  • Telehealth
  • Multiple employers
  • Private plans
  • Coverage of former employees
  • Timing of job-protected leave periods
  • Substance abuse
  • Intermittent leave
  • Determining wages earned
  • Employer reimbursement

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave

The 2018 Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act established a statewide paid family and medical leave program financed by employer and employee contributions. Contributions began in October 2019, and employee leave benefits become available on Jan. 1, 2021, and July 1, 2021, depending on the reason for leave.

Action Steps

Employers should become familiar with the amendments to ensure that their policies comply with the requirements of the program.

Highlights

Extended Illness Leave Banks

The amendments add a definition for programs under which individuals donate accrued leave time for coworkers experiencing a qualifying reason for PFML leave.

Private Plans

The amendments clarify certain requirements for private plans, including the date coverage begins, eligibility criteria and coverage when employers switch plans.

Telehealth

Continuing treatment by a health care provider now includes telehealth visits.

Important Dates

July 24, 2020

Final amendments to the PFML regulations were published.

Jan 21, 2021

Employee leave benefits begin.

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