There shall be a department of family and medical leave within the executive office of labor and workforce development which shall be administered by a director appointed by the governor.
The department shall pay medical leave benefits as specified in this chapter and family leave benefits to any covered individual for any of the following reasons: (i) to bond with the covered individual's child during the first 12 months after the child's birth or the first 12 months after the placement of the child for adoption or foster care with the covered individual; (ii) because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces; or (iii) in order to care for a family member who is a covered service member. The department, by regulation, shall set time standards for application processing which shall provide for notifying applicants of their eligibility or ineligibility for benefits under this chapter within 14 days of receiving a claim under section 5 and shall pay benefits not less than 14 days after the eligibility determination unless that determination occurs more than 14 days before the onset of eligibility in which case benefits shall be paid as soon as eligibility begins. The department shall not require documentation of certification beyond the requirements established in this chapter.
The department shall pay family leave benefits to any covered individual to care for a family member with a serious health condition as specified by this chapter. The department, by regulation, shall set time standards for application processing which shall provide for notifying applicants within 14 days of their eligibility for benefits under this chapter and shall pay benefits not less than 14 days after the eligibility determination unless that determination occurs more than 14 days before the onset of eligibility in which case benefits shall be paid as soon as eligibility begins. The department shall not require documentation of certification beyond the requirements established in this chapter.
The department shall notify the employer not more than 5 business days after a claim has been filed under section 5, and shall use information sharing and integration technology to facilitate the disclosure of relevant information or records with the written consent of the individual applying for benefits. The department shall establish by regulation a system for appeals, pursuant to chapter 30A, in the case of a denial of family or medical leave benefits. In establishing such system, the department shall provide for administrative review in an adjudicatory proceeding held pursuant to section 10 of said chapter 30A and 801 CMR 1.02. Judicial review of any decision of the department rendered pursuant to administrative review under this subsection shall be commenced pursuant to section 14 of said chapter 30A within 30 days of the date of the receipt of the notice of such decision, except that such judicial review under this section shall be filed in the district court within the judicial district in which the covered individual lives, or is or was last employed, or in which the individual has a usual place of business and, in such proceeding, the department shall be made a defendant.
Information contained in the files and records pertaining to an individual under this chapter shall be confidential and not open to public inspection, other than to public employees in the performance of their official duties; provided, however, that an individual or authorized representative of an individual may review the individual's records or receive specific information from the records upon the presentation of the individual's signed and dated authorization, which shall remain in force and effect until revoked in writing by such individual.
The department shall conduct a public education campaign to inform workers, employers, self-employed individuals and covered business entities about the availability of family and medical leave benefits, the requirements for receiving such benefits and family and medical leave, how to apply for such benefits and leave and all of the employer's and covered business entity's obligations under this chapter. The department shall prepare and disseminate model multilingual forms to be used by employers, covered business entities, employees and self-employed individuals in the languages required for the workplace notice under subsection (a) of section 4.
The department shall enforce this chapter and shall promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to this chapter. An employer or covered business entity that fails or refuses to make contributions as required in section 6 shall be assessed an amount equal to its total annual payroll for each year, or the fraction thereof for which it failed to comply, multiplied by the then-current annual contribution rate required under subsection (a) of said section 6, in addition to the total amounts of benefits paid to covered individuals for whom it failed to make contributions. The rate of assessment imposed by this subsection shall be adjusted annually consistent with subsection (a) of said section 6 and subsection (e) of section 7. The department may delegate the administration and collection of contributions required by this chapter to the department of revenue, subject to the agreement of the commissioner of revenue. Such contributions shall be treated as taxes for administration and collection purposes and shall be subject to chapter 62C. Such contributions shall also be treated as debts owed to the department under chapter 62D. The department may issue refunds if the contributions required in section 6 have resulted in duplicative charges.
This chapter shall be liberally construed as remedial law to further its purpose of providing job-protected family and medical leave and family and medical leave benefits. All presumptions shall be made in favor of the availability of leave and the payment of family and medical leave benefits under this chapter.
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|Last updated:||June 13, 2019|