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Updated PFML Guidelines

May 8, 2019

[Updated from an article originally posted on 4/30/19]

Employers have a little bit more time to get ready for Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML). On May 1st, after a series of public listening sessions, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) announced several updates to its PFML guidelines.

Exemption Deadline

The first update affects private plans. Employers who offer paid leave benefits that are equal to or greater than the benefits provided by PFML, and that don’t cost employees more than they would be required to contribute to PFML, may be made exempt from contributing to the program. An exemption must be approved during the quarter before the quarter in which it goes into effect.

Previous DFML guidance required employers that wanted to be exempt during the first quarter to file exemption requests by June 30th. That deadline has been extended to September 20th. An employer whose extension request is denied will have to pay the contribution amount from July 1st forward, so despite the extension DFML urges employers to consider their exemption status now.

Employee Notification Deadline

The second update is relevant to all Massachusetts employers. The deadline to notify employees in writing about the PFML program and their benefits has been extended from May 31st to June 30th.

IRS Guidance

The third and final update relates to taxes. The DFML has requested input from the IRS about various questions related to how PFML contributions will be taxed, but such guidance hasn’t yet been issued. The department anticipates that the IRS will say that contributions should be withheld from after-tax wages. For now, it advises employers to consult with their own tax advisors.

We’ll pass on more information to you as it’s released. In the meantime, feel free to contact Commonwealth with any questions.

For more information on the PFML, join us for our free webinar on May 22 at 12:00 PM EST.

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