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News Exemption and Workforce Notification Deadlines Extended

The Department of Family and Medical Leave have announced changes to important deadlines plus new tax information.
5/01/2019
  • Department of Family and Medical Leave

In response to feedback from the 12 public listening sessions held around the Commonwealth, as well as engagement efforts with stakeholders, the Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) is making the following changes:

Exemption Deadline Extended for Quarter 1

The Department’s current guidance requires that exemptions for private plans must be approved in the quarter prior to the quarter in which they will go into effect. For Quarter 1 only, however, the deadline to file for a private plan exemption that will be in effect for first quarter contributions for paid family and medical leave has been moved from June 30 to September 20, 2019. This will allow employers additional time to contemplate private plan options. Going forward, the Department will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis but applications must be approved in the quarter prior to the quarter in which they go into effect.

Please note that contributions to PFML begin on July 1, 2019, and the September 20, 2019, extension of the exemption application deadline only impacts the contribution requirements if the exemption request is approved. If the exemption request is denied the impacted business will be responsible for remitting the full contribution amount from July 1, 2019 forward. Therefore, DFML recommends that businesses in the Commonwealth consult with their tax advisors as to the implications associated with applying for a private plan exemption that may or may not be approved.

Employer Notice to Employees

The deadline for employer notice to employees has been extended from May 31 to June 30, 2019. The notice, which may be provided electronically, must include the opportunity for an employee or self-employed individual to acknowledge receipt or decline to acknowledge receipt of the information.

The Department of Family and Medical Leave is continuing to accept comment on draft regulations regarding paid family and medical leave and is planning to host two additional listening sessions in May which will be announced shortly.

Tax Information

The tax treatment of PFML contributions for both state and federal purposes is governed by federal tax law. The Commonwealth has requested guidance from the Internal Revenue Service on this question and others related to the tax implications of PFML contributions and benefits. Until IRS guidance is issued, individuals and businesses are urged to consult with their own tax advisors on these questions. Based on its own review of federal rules and following consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the Department of Family and Medical Leave anticipates that the IRS will conclude that employee contributions should be withheld from after-tax wages. A definitive rule for proper tax treatment of contributions will be available once IRS guidance is issued.

Department of Family and Medical Leave 

The Department of Family and Medical Leave oversees the Commonwealth’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program. This program provides temporary income replacement to eligible workers who are welcoming a new child into their family, are struck by a serious illness or injury, need to take care of an ill or ailing relative, and for certain military considerations.
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