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PFML Update: What you need to know (Nov 2023)

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Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) is here to help.

Each quarter, the Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) provides you with the changes and updates that were made over the last three months. The information below highlights recent updates and changes. 

 

Important Legislative Update

A recent legislative change regarding PFML will have an impact on both employers and employees. It is important to understand these changes and any responsibilities you may have as an employer or employee.

For applications filed on or after November 1, 2023, employees receiving PFML benefits may supplement (or “top off”) their PFML benefits with any available accrued paid leave (sick time, vacation, PTO, personal time, etc.). For employees who choose to supplement their DFML benefits in this way, the combined weekly sum of PFML benefits and employer-provided paid leave benefits cannot exceed the employee’s Individual Average Weekly Wage (IAWW). Employers will be responsible for monitoring and ensuring that the combined weekly sum of employer-provided paid leave benefits and PFML benefits does not exceed an employee’s IAWW. If the application is filed on or after November 1, 2023, applications filed retroactively for a leave that began before November 1, 2023, are eligible for topping off.

Employers are also responsible for managing any payments made to an employee that exceed the employee’s IAWW. DFML is not involved in the repayment process for top off overages. This process is solely the responsibility of the employer and the employee.


Important Annual Updates

On October 1, 2023, DFML released important information regarding the contribution amounts that need to be remitted by eligible employees and employers beginning on January 1, 2024. Revised notices regarding the rate change will need to be distributed to all employees and eligible 1099-Misc workers prior to January 1, 2024. Updated version of the rate sheet will be available on mass.gov/dfml at a future date. In addition, DFML will also be releasing the 2024 Workplace Poster, which will need to be posted in accordance with the  employer's company policy on mandatory workforce posters.

Updated: PFML 2024 Maximum Benefit Amount - DFML announced the 2024 maximum benefit amount.

Updated: PFML 2024 Employer Contribution Rates – DFML released the rates for both employers with fewer than 25 eligible workers and employers with 25 or more eligible workers.

New: 2023 PFML Annual Report - DFML released the annual report detailing information about program activity during DFML Fiscal Year 2023.

 

Important Reminder: Employer Notification Requirements and Enforcement

All Massachusetts employers (including employers with private or self-insured benefits plans) are required to distribute certain information to their employees under the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law.

If it is reported to DFML that an employer has not properly notified their workforce about the PFML program, DFML will investigate the alleged claim of noncompliance and employers can be subjected to fines and penalties in the event they are found to be out of compliance with the program requirements. Fines of up to $300 per employee can be assessed if the employer does not meet the requirements. Employer Notification Requirements

 

Here are some additional program changes and enhancements that will impact employers and employees.

New: Employees can receive most written communications in their preferred language - Employees are now provided most application documents, notices, and email notifications in their preferred language so that they can understand what is needed to successfully apply and manage their leave. When completing the step-by-step application, the employee is asked about their language preference for written communications.

New: Employees can submit an application without stating the date they previously notified their employer - Employees can now submit an application on the Application Website without stating that they notified their employer.  This does not change an employee's obligation to give an employer at least 30 days’ notice of an anticipated leave or notice as soon as practicable if notice is delayed for reasons beyond their control.  During the application review if an employer has not been notified it may cause the application to be denied.  

New: Enhance Employer Verification (remove EIN) - Employer Verification has been simplified so that leave administrators no longer require the EIN during the employer account creation process. Once an account is created, the options for verifying access have been clarified with the two options for verifying access to an organization - being added by another leave administrator or providing the EIN and Mass Tax contribution amount. Access provisioned by another leave administrator is more straightforward and empowers leave administrators to monitor and self-serve.

Updated: Document Upload Improvements to the Application Website - Employees now have clearer guidance when uploading their medical certification document. These enhancements reduce application errors due to uploading invalid document types.

Updated: Reduce Unintended Cancellations Employees now have distinct options to “end early” or “extend” their leave and the option to cancel has been removed on the Application Website. This change makes it clear for employees how they can report an early return to work and will reduce accidental cancellations.

Updated: Explanation of Wages Used add to Denial Notice - Denied applications will now receive an appended table at the end of the denial notice that returns the wage data used to calculate employee financial eligibility.

Updated: Individual Average Weekly Wage (IAWW) added to Approval Notice - The Approval Notice now contains the IAWW for each applicant as calculated by PFML. This information is coupled with the benefit amount and will assist employers in calculating the difference between benefit amount and IAWW to determine the amount of necessary PTO top off.




DFML Contact Center (833) 344-7365 
Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET
Get answers to your questions in English, Español, and Português.
Translation services for up to 240+ languages are also available.

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