In Massachusetts, the COVID Pandemic of 2020 has pushed Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) to the back burner as businesses have struggled to reinvent their operations amidst financial concerns and remote work arrangements. As of January 1, 2021, businesses throughout the state had to be prepared for a world with PFML.
To refresh you, as of January 1, 2021, individuals covered under the MA PFML law are entitled to receive paid leave for certain events. Specifically, covered individuals may take:
- Up to 20 weeks of leave a year for their own serious health condition;
- Up to 26 weeks of leave a year to care for a family member who is a covered service member with a serious health condition;
- Up to 12 weeks of leave a year related to the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child; or
- Up to 12 weeks of leave a year to manage family affairs when a family member is on, or has been called to, active duty in the armed forces.
MA PFML ADMINISTRATIVE CHECKLIST FOR 2021:
✔ WRITTEN PFML POLICY
A written PFML policy must be added to your handbook and distributed to employees. Many questions around the handling of a specific leave event refer back to how your PFML policy is written and how it coordinates with your other leaves. Making these changes can streamline PFML claims management.
✔ UPDATED JOB DESCRIPTIONS
When an employee submits for leave, the legislation refers to employees being able to perform the duties of their job per the specific job description.
✔ STAFF KNOWLEDGE
Ensure your HR team, managers and employees understand the variety of leave programs that are available along with the differences
✔ UNDERSTANDING OF BENEFITS
Understand how your disability benefits coordinate with PFML. There is bound to be confusion around the administrative handling of PFML in conjunction with other leave policies like Sick Pay, Federal FMLA, vacation time, other company policies, etc. However, the coordination with Short- and Long-Term Disability is a conversation that should take place as soon as possible.
- Is your HR team prepared to handle the administrative load that comes with a PFML program?
- Is your HRIS/Payroll system set up to track the leave?
- Do you know what leave management platforms are available to help track PFML, FMLA, Disability, Sick Pay, Parental Leave and other programs offered?
- Is your team cross trained so that employees are capable of filling a potential void left by someone on leave?
This is a high level overview of some of the considerations and steps organizations should be taking now that Paid Family & Medical Leave is in effect in Massachusetts. The RogersGray team is available to help guide employers through the process to make sure you are compliant.
Visit our PFML page for more information and other MA PFML updates.
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Senior Vice President | Employee Benefits
Jeff Bastien is an Senior Vice President of Employee Benefits at RogersGray. Jeff has been in the employee benefits industry for 10+ years and is an expert in creating and implementing successful insurance offerings through progressive thinking and employee engagement. Jeff resides in Millbury with his wife Jennifer. You can connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or by email.