Final Regulations on Paid Family Medical Leave Released

On July 24, 2020, the Department of Family and Medical Leave released the final regulations for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PFML). As background, Massachusetts employers must provide paid family and medical leave beginning in January 2021. The leave is funded through a payroll tax. (See the July 10, 2018, and the February 5, 2019, editions of Compliance Corner for discussions of the PFML and the proposed rules.)

The final regulations make a number of changes to the proposed rules. Some of the major revisions are as follows:

  • Employers that are seeking an exemption due to providing a private plan must provide leave to all employees, covered workers and former employees in order for their private plan to be exempted.
  • Covered individuals must provide notice to their employer before they apply for PFML benefits, otherwise, their application can be rejected.
  • Covered individuals must submit their application at least 30 days, but no more than 60 days, in advance of the leave unless they are reasonably unable to do so.
  • Covered individuals with multiple employers will have their weekly benefit amount calculated based on wages for a specific employer, but they are not required to take leave from each employer at the same time.
  • Substance use disorders can qualify as a serious health condition that would allow the use of PFML for treatment of the condition.
  • Intermittent leave can be taken in 15-minute increments, but payment of PFML benefits will not be paid out in requests of less than eight hours.
  • The wages or wage replacement benefits that will reduce PFMLA have been adjusted to include benefits received through an approved, exempted private plan or any wages that are received from another employer or self-employment.
  • There will be an initial seven-day waiting period for every application for benefits, with the exception of PFML for pregnancy or recovery from childbirth. Also, no more than 12 weeks of leave benefits are permitted in a year, even if there are multiple births.
  • The final rules also make changes to many of the definitions in the law.

Employers should review the final regulations as they will impact employers’ compliance with the PFML, which employees will be able to take as of January 1, 2021.

PFML Final Regulations »