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MASSACHUSETTS PAID FAMILY and MEDICAL LEAVE

Arch Insurance Group Inc., a market leader in the New York and New Jersey statutory disability and paid family leave markets, has developed for approval an insured product to meet the specifications of the new Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law. The product is built specifically for Massachusetts employers who wish to file for a “Private Plan Exemption.”

MASSACHUSETTS LAW

MGL c.175M Paid Family Medical Leave establishes a system for paid family leave. The benefits will be available to employees beginning in 2021.

All Massachusetts employers are automatically enrolled into the state plan for PFML coverage. Employers are required to submit quarterly contributions (deductions from payroll) to the state at the end of each quarter starting Q4 2019, with the first payment being due to the state on Jan. 1, 2020. Employers who file for a private plan exemption from the state plan by Dec. 20, 2019, and receive state approval will not have to submit contributions to the state for the five quarters leading up to January 2021, as well as for any future quarters in which they retain an approved private plan for their employees. Employers who file for an exemption that is approved by the state must show proof of a private plan that, at a minimum, begins paying equal or greater benefits on Jan. 1, 2021.

ARCH PFML PRODUCT POINTS

  • Compliant with MA PFML laws.
  • The Arch MA PFML Product will be sold as a “standalone” product; no other Arch products are required to purchase this plan.
  • Companies who opt out of the state plan and place coverage with Arch will not be required to make quarterly contributions to the state fund.
  • Each policy is underwritten using company-specific demographic and employee census data.
  • Rates guaranteed for one year.

Family and Medical Leave Timetable

July 1, 2019

Final regulations published.

Sept. 30, 2019

Deadline for employers to provide written notice of their workforce of PFML benefits, contribution rates and other provisions.

Dec. 20, 2019

If you apply for an exemption on or before Dec. 20, 2019, and are approved, your exemption effective date will be Oct. 1, 2019. This retroactive approval is only applicable to Oct. 1, 2019, PFML exemption applications.

For exemption applications submitted on or after Dec. 21, 2019, your exemption effective date will be the first date of the quarter immediately following approval. For example, if you are approved on Dec. 28, 2019, your effective date will be Jan. 1, 2020. If you are approved on March 1, 2020, your effective date will be April 1, 2020.

Visit Mass.gov for more information.

Jan. 1, 2020

0.75% tax is due to the state from employers for Q4 2019.

Jan. 1, 2021

New child, medical leave, family military, caregiver for service member benefits available.

July 1, 2021

Care of family member benefit available.


PRIVATE PLAN DETAILS

  • In order to participate in a private plan, the employer must opt out of the state plan. This process includes: completing the application, providing all required documentation and paying the exemption fee.
  • The Plan may be responsible for benefits to unemployed individuals who have been separated from the company fewer than 26 weeks and meet certain eligibility requirements at the time of separation.
  • Employee benefits are based on each employee’s two highest earning quarters over the last year.
  • Employers are limited to how much they can withhold from an employee.

Private plans must include this full list of all requirements.

FILING AN EXEMPTION TO THE STATE PROGRAM

Employers can submit one private plan application per quarter. If your application is denied, you must wait until the next quarter to refile. When filing an exemption, employers must:

Review the Massachusetts private plan guidelines to ensure your plan is comparable to or richer than the state plan. Employers can send their proposed plan to Arch for review and feedback before submitting to Massachusetts.

Submit the application electronically via the MassTaxConnect portal.

Log into the MassTaxConnect portal to review the decision (email notification sent within two business days) and begin the next steps.

IF YOUR EXEMPTION IS APPROVED

You will receive a letter detailing the next steps, including information on how to provide a surety bond if self-insuring. Employers must wait at least one year before making any changes to a private plan.

IF YOUR EXEMPTION IS DENIED

Employers will be notified of the reason for denials of your private plan application. You can request a follow-up review if there is a good-faith belief that the application does in fact meet the requirements. If it does not meet the requirements, applicants can refile a new plan application the following quarter.

Dec. 20, 2019: Employers with approved private plans or who have submitted private plan applications by this date may maintain – if consistent with the required written notice detailing contributions, rates and benefits – payroll contributions that started Oct. 1, 2019 (the beginning of the calendar quarter for withholdings). Otherwise, contributions must be remitted to the state, according to the state payment schedule, until a private plan is approved and effective. Exemptions can be for the Family Leave Program, Medical Leave Program or both.


Information

Insurance coverage is underwritten by a member company of Arch Insurance Group Inc. This is only a brief description of the insurance coverage(s) available under the policy. The policy contains reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. Full details of the coverage are contained in the policy. If there are any conflicts between this document and the policy, the policy shall govern. Not all coverages are available in all jurisdictions.