Employers slow to inform state about leave law contacts

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – With just more than three weeks until new paid family and medical leave benefits become available to Massachusetts workers, about half of the state’s employers still have not told the state who will be in charge of administering the benefits for their workers, the head of the Department of Family and Medical Leave said Wednesday.

During a virtual event with Prince Lobel’s Employment Law Group, DFML Director William Alpine said that roughly 50 percent of the companies in Massachusetts have still not provided his department with leave administrator contact information, which DFML had asked companies to provide by Oct. 31. Some benefits become available Jan. 1, 2021.

“It’s important that we collect this information now as we build out our contact list of people who will manage leave requests for your organization. Incorrect contact information may delay approvals and bring unnecessary stress and anxiety to your employees,” DFML said in an October email reminding employers to submit their information.

The leave law, part of the June 2018 “grand bargain” legislation, calls for up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, to care for a new child, or to meet family needs arising from a family member’s active-duty military service. It also authorizes up to 20 weeks of job-protected paid leave to recover from a worker’s own serious illness or injury, or to care for a seriously ill or injured service member.

The maximum weekly benefit will be $850. Benefits will become available on Jan. 1, 2021, for workers seeking time off to bond with a new child, take care of a sick or injured service member or to tend to a serious personal health condition. Benefits will be made available for workers to care for a family member with a serious health condition on July 1, 2021.

The program is funded through a 0.75 percent payroll tax that the state began collecting on Oct. 1, 2019. Employers are responsible for at least 49.6 percent of the overall contribution and workers can be responsible for up to 50.4 percent of their total contribution.

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