paid family medical leave MAThe October 1st Paid Family Medical Leave contribution date has arrived in Massachusetts! For the last 2 months, we have spent the majority of our time and energy helping clients navigate the Private PFML market by helping obtain proposals, going through our financial analysis tool, and assisting through the exemption filing process. At RogersGray, we have had our own exemption filed since early September.

Some of the feedback/objections we have heard from the rest of the marketplace as they try to catch up:

“There is no approved state plan yet.”

“Let’s wait for the market to ‘develop’ as more carriers release their product.”

“We have referred our clients to the state program for advice and choose to not take a leadership role with this product.”

We took a different approach and chose a market leadership role when these programs rolled out in early August. Countless conversations with carriers and members of the state Department of Family & Medical Leave have allowed us to gain and share invaluable information with our clients.

  • The fact that there had been no state approved plan hasn’t slowed our clients down from receiving a “Provisional Approval” and exemption from the state program. As the state finalizes their regulation, it is understood that clients will have to file for final approval prior to January 2021 when the benefits begin. Some clients have had their “Provisional Approvals” for over a month now and have avoided the 10/1 contributions.
  • We have led our discussions with a Private option that allows maximum flexibility for our clients long-term, while securing them their exemption in the short-term. This allows us to be dynamic when it comes to binding coverage for a Private plan before January 2021.
  • In a vacuum, staying with the state plan may be easier. However, based on two months’ worth of financial analysis we have done, it can be a costly decision. We have seen savings anywhere from $10’s to $100’s of thousands of dollars in savings on the private side. This type of savings opens a variety of potential options for employers to reinvest back in their businesses and employees.

That brings us to… Phase 2: Next Steps now that PFML is here

Now that our clients have secured their exemptions and saved a significant amount of money, we are transitioning our conversation over the next 15 months to prepare for administering these benefits.

Our topics include:

  • Leave Management in general; managing a combination of Federal FLMA, State PFML, Short- and Long-Term Disability, Sick Pay, Vacation Time, etc.
  • Updates needed for in-force Short- and Long-Term Disability policies prior to 2021
  • Administrative controls/processes for employees requesting leave to manage use/abuse of different leave programs
  • HR Best Practices for ramp up in 2020 and 2021; Handbooks, Employee Education, Policies/Procedures, and potential Technology Options

At RogersGray we have already taken a proactive approach to Employee Education and Policy/Procedure updates for understanding and requesting leave with our own employee population. To learn more about how we can help your organization prepare, reach out today!

Jeff Bastien

Jeff Bastien

Senior Vice President | Partner

Jeff Bastien is a Partner and Senior Vice President at RogersGray. With over 12 years in the industry, he serves as a trusted advisor for employee benefit and human resources-related topics, such as Healthcare Reform, HR Business Planning, and Alternative Funding Strategies.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn or by email.