Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

On June 28, 2018, Gov. Baker signed into law Chapter 175M, making Massachusetts the seventh state to provide workers with paid family and medical leave. The new law provides up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave (subject to a combined maximum of 26 weeks total leave in a year). The bill imposes a three year phase-in period, but as of Jan. 1, 2021, all private MA employers must provide “covered individuals” with paid family and medical leave.

Under the law, workers on paid leave will earn 80 percent of their wages (capped at 50 percent of the state average weekly wage) and up to 50 percent of their wages beyond that amount (capped at $850/week, adjusted annually). Unlike federal FMLA that impacts employers with at least 50 employees, the state law will apply to all employers with one or more employees working in MA and will be available to eligible new employees without any hours worked or service time requirements. The law also will apply to certain former employees and self-employed workers.

The paid leave program will be paid by a newly created state trust fund, which will be funded by a payroll tax of 0.63 percent that can potentially be split between the employer and employee (slated to begin by July 1, 2019). The program will be administered by a newly established Department of Family and Medical Leave that is tasked to craft proposed regulations by March 31, 2019. The new law includes notice requirements and associated penalties for noncompliance.

This new law requires significant changes for private employers with employees in MA. Though the funding will not begin until July 1, 2019 and the law’s details have not yet been provided, it is important that employers prepare and consider consulting with outside counsel to review policies and practices in response to this new law.

Chapter 175M »
Press release »