Massachusetts employers now pay a lower contribution to the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) and employees are eligible for a higher maximum weekly benefit, effective Jan. 1.
The PFML law provides up to 26 weeks of paid leave in a benefit year for family and medical issues for eligible employees who work in Massachusetts. The state administers and pays for the benefits.
The employer contribution rate is now 0.68 percent, down from 0.75 percent last year, on the first $142,800 of the employee’s wages (up from $128,400 in 2021). With average weekly incomes rising, the maximum weekly PFML benefit has increased from $850 in 2021 to $1,084.31. The average weekly income in Massachusetts, which the PFML amount is based on, has increased to $1,694.24 (up from $1,487.78 in 2021).
The benefits provided by the law are:
- Paid medical leave for an employee’s own serious illness, up to 20 weeks.
- Paid family leave to handle family affairs while a family member is on active duty overseas, up to 12 weeks.
- Paid family leave to care for a covered military service member, up to 26 weeks.
- Paid family leave to bond with a newborn, adopted child or a child newly placed in foster care, up to 12 weeks.
On July 1, 2021, employees became eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a family member who has a serious illness.
In addition to Massachusetts, eight states and the District of Columbia have passed paid family and medical leave laws: California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington state. Last year, New Hampshire passed a two-year state budget that includes a voluntary paid leave program.
In 2022, the contribution rate for the combined medical and family leave is 0.68 percent of eligible wages or earnings – 0.56 percent for medical leave and 0.12 percent for family leave. Employers with 25 or more employees in Massachusetts must pay 60 percent of the medical leave (.336 percent) and 0 percent of the family leave. Employees are obligated to pay .224 percent (the remaining 40 percent) of the medical leave and .12 percent (100 percent) of the family leave.
Businesses with fewer than 25 employees are not obligated to pay the employer share. Those employers can remit the employee’s .224 percent of the medical leave and .12 percent of the family leave.
How does this differ from the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? The federal program requires eligible employers with more than 50 employees to provide unpaid leave for certain employees. The FMLA allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave – 26 weeks to care for a service member – and has a 12-month waiting period to become eligible. By contrast, the Massachusetts program has no waiting period and the leave is paid. Although there are no contributions to the FMLA, the PFML requires employers to collect payroll deductions.
Though I don’t have any employees myself, I think it’s good to have protection for employees. I know of a young man who had a stroke on his way home. Without the PFML law, he wouldn’t have any money coming in while he is out of work recuperating. A business should be able to manage with the right guidance and have someone come in to fill the gap.
Don’t forget to update the PFML policy in your employee handbook. If you have any questions about the PFML law, contact me at email@example.com.
Year’s end is perfect time to review taxes, benefits
The end of the year is a good time for employers to check their taxes, benefits and payroll information to be certain they’re in compliance with the latest laws and regulations.
I’ve talked to colleagues in Human Resources who agree it’s a good idea for employers to do a thorough review of taxes and payroll at the end of the year. It’s also a good time to go through group health insurance plans and other benefits offered by the company to see whether any changes are needed. Read More
On-site HR or a consultant – which is right for you?
If you have employees, it doesn’t matter whether you manage a small business or a large company, you need an HR professional. Any company that has employees should have an expert in the field it can reach out to for advice.
Whether that expert is working on-site or is a consultant depends on your needs. The larger the company, the more likely it is it will have an HR department in-house. Smaller companies are more likely to outsource HR services. Read More
50+ Job Seekers schedule
The 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group is offering a new series of workshops and bilingual workshops that will run through June. The programs are free and virtual on Zoom.
The next workshops are:
- Thursday, Jan. 13, 11 a.m. to noon: Savvy Seeker Series: Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
- Thursday, Jan. 20, 2 to 4 p.m.: Recruiters Roundtable
- Tuesday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m. to noon: Resume – experience
- Thursday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m. to noon: Savvy Seeker Series: Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment
- Tuesday, Feb. 1, 10 a.m. to noon: G2G (give to get)
- Tuesday, Feb. 8, 10 a.m. to noon: LinkedIn Profile
- Thursday, Feb. 10, 11 a.m. to noon: Savvy Seeker Series: Resilience through Difficult Times
Join the Bilingual 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group’s biweekly skills-building sessions to enhance your networking skills and create your job search toolkit. The program includes 12 interactive sessions, G2G (give to get) sessions, free coaching sessions for Wheel of Names winners, a guest speaker series and monthly special events.
The workshops meet from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays. The schedule through June is:
- Jan. 12: Self-assessment
- Jan. 26: Resumes: Marketing Tool
- Feb. 9: Networking Introductions
- Feb. 23: STAR/PAR Stories
- March 16: LinkedIn Part 1: Your Profile
- March 30: LinkedIn Part 2: The Job Search
- April 13: Interview Preparation
- April 27: Interview Practice
- May 11: Cover Letters
- May 25: Closing & Negotiating the Deal
- June 15: Teamwork & Difficult People
- June 29: Toolbox – What’s Missing?
Information on the all the programs is posted on the 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group website at https://50plusjobseekers.org.
The virtual doors open 15 minutes before the program starts. Pre-registration for first-time participants and advance registration is at https://50plusjobseekers.org/outreach/registration/.
Those who are already registered with the program will receive an email about the 50+ Job Seekers workshops.
If you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can contact me by downloading my digital business card by texting HRPRO to 21000 or emailing me at email@example.com.