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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 and receive approval from the state will be exempt from state contributions beginning the first date of the quarter immediately following. Employers will remain exempt from state contributions 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

Date

Requirement

July 1, 2019

Final regulations published

January 1, 2020

0.75% tax starts and is due to the state from employers for each subsequent quarter

January 1, 2021

Required start date of most leave benefits

July 1, 2021

All benefits 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.


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.