May 3, 2019

Massachusetts Revises Guidance for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

On Wednesday, May 1, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (the Department) released revised guidance regarding the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave law (PFML law). The revised guidance can be found here. The revised guidance:

  1. Extends the deadline from May 31 to June 30, 2019, for employers to provide the required PFML individual notices to employees and, in certain circumstances, to independent contractors.  
  2. Extends the deadline from June 30, 2019, to September 20, 2019, for those employers that are opting to file for a private plan exemption instead of paying the mandatory payroll tax starting on July 1, 2019, and withholding appropriate contributions from employees (see Option 1 and Option 2 under Goodwin’s prior client alert. The guidance notes that if the private plan exemption request is denied after July 1, 2019, and the employer has not commenced payroll withholding, the employer will be responsible for remitting the “full contribution amount” for the period from July 1 until the employer begins payroll withholding. The Department therefore “recommends that businesses in the Commonwealth consult with their tax advisors as to the implications associated with applying for a private plan exemption that may or may not be approved.”
  3. States that the Department has requested guidance from the Internal Revenue Service regarding the tax implications of PFML contributions and benefits. The Department states in the guidance that it “anticipates” that the IRS will conclude that employee contributions under the PFML law should be withheld from after-tax wages.  

Please consult a member of Goodwin’s Employment practice with any questions regarding the PFML law, including relating to the Department’s revised guidance.