With few exceptions, all employers are required to provide Paid Family and Medical Leave. Almost all employees are eligible to receive benefits. The Hartford is offering fully insured coverage or administrative services only on self-insured private plans.
Annual Employer Renewal Schedule for Private Plan Exemptions:
- 1/1 Approval - Must reapply by 12/31
- 4/1 Approval - Must reapply by 3/31
- 7/1 Approval - Must reapply by 6/30
- 10/1 Approval - Must reapply by 9/30
The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) sends out reminder emails for renewals.
Tools and Resources
The Hartford has prepared guides to help employers with employees in MA.
Line on Leave Podcast Episode: MA & CT PFML Program Update (2020)
The MA DFML also provides resources to help employers.
The Hartford is providing this information as a resource and does not control the content of third-party websites.
What Is Covered Under the MA PFML Program?
Eligible employees can take leave to:
- Welcome a new child (through birth, adoption or foster placement).
- Recover from a personal illness or injury.
- Care for an ill or injured spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandchild or grandparent.
- Care for an injured (while in the line of duty) or sick service member.
- Respond to certain military-connected events.
What Are the MA PFML Benefits?
Employees may be entitled to the following per benefit year up to a total of 26 weeks combined for Paid Family and Medical Leave:
- Up to 12 weeks of Family Leave (includes active-duty family military leave, bonding time and care of a family member)
- Up to 20 weeks of personal Medical Leave
- Up to 26 weeks of caregiver benefit for service member
During the leave period, eligible employees will be paid a percentage of their average weekly wage, not to exceed $1,129.82 per week for leaves beginning in 2023 and not to exceed $1,149.90 for leaves beginning in 2024.
How Is the MA PFML State Program Funded?
The state program is funded through contributions equal to a percentage of each employee’s wages, up to the Social Security maximum. The combined employee and employer contribution percentage for 2023 is 0.63% and will increase to 0.88% in 2024 for employers with 25 or more covered individuals.
Employers and employees share the cost as follows:
- Paid Medical Leave – up to 40% of 0.52% of gross annual wages up to the Social Security maximum may be paid by an employee. At least 60% must be paid by an employer with 25 or more covered individuals. The employer may choose to fund all or part of the employee’s Paid Medical Leave contributions.
- Paid Family Leave – up to 100% of 0.11% of gross annual wages up to the Social Security maximum may be paid by an employee. The employer may choose to fund all or part of the employee’s Paid Family Leave contributions.
- Paid Medical Leave – up to 40% of 0.70% of gross annual wages up to the Social Security maximum may be paid by an employee. At least 60% must be paid by an employer with 25 or more covered individuals. The employer may choose to fund all or part of the employee’s Paid Medical Leave contributions.
- Paid Family Leave – up to 100% of 0.18% of gross annual wages up to the Social Security maximum may be paid by an employee. The employer may choose to fund all or part of the employee’s Paid Family Leave contributions.
The employer remits premiums collected to the state on a quarterly basis. The due date is the last day of the month following the close of the previous calendar quarter.
How Are MA PFML Private Plans Paid For?
A private plan can be fully insured or self-funded. Under a private plan, the employer will pay premium or if self-funded, fees and the cost of claims. The employer is responsible for any premium in excess of the state employee contribution limit but can also choose to pay more. Private plans from The Hartford are underwritten and rates may vary.
Under a private plan, employee contributions may include the following:
For Paid Medical Leave, the lesser of:
- 40% of the state rate or
- 40% the actual rate, if less than the state rate
- See “How Is The MA PFML State Plan Funded” for the 2023 and 2024 Paid Medical Leave state rates
For Paid Family Leave, the lesser of:
- 100% to a maximum of the state rate if the rate is at, or exceeds the state rate or
- 100% the actual rate, if the rate is less than the state rate
- Ver “How Is The MA PFML State Plan Funded” for the 2023 and 2024 Paid Family Leave state rates
Note: If more than 50% of an employer’s workforce are 1099 contractors, those contractors are considered “covered individuals.” An employer must remit contributions for them just as it does for its other employees.
Premium or administration fees are remitted to the insurance carrier.
How Will Employers Be Billed for Private Plans With The Hartford?
Bill frequency will be on a quarterly-in-arrears basis or on a monthly-in-advance basis for customers of The Hartford.
Are There Exceptions to the State Plan Premium Requirements?
If an employer is a small business with fewer than 25 employees, the employer is not required to pay the employer portion of the state plan contributions. Employees will still pay into the program, though, and can take advantage of full leave benefits.
Under The Hartford’s private plan, employers with fewer than 25 employees will contribute towards the premiums.
Is There a Minimum Number of Employees To Obtain Private Plan Coverage Through The Hartford?
No, The Hartford offers private plan coverage down to 1 life. The Hartford will offer stand-alone private plan coverage for employers with 25 or more employees in MA.
Do All Employers Need To Participate?
Businesses and organizations with one or more employees are subject to the MA PFML law. Exceptions include:
- Self-employed individuals (may opt-in to the state plan).
- Municipal employers (may opt-in to the state plan if they decide to participate in the program).
What Are the State Plan’s Financial Eligibility Requirements?
To qualify for benefits in 2023, the employee must have earnings in Massachusetts totaling at least $6,000 (adjusted annually) during the four completed calendar quarters prior to the date of leave and 30 times the weekly unemployment benefit amount they would be eligible to collect. In 2024 the earnings amount remains $6,000. All paid work over the course of the year counts toward this requirement, including part-time, seasonal and temporary work.
With The Hartford’s private plan, employers may choose to waive the Financial Eligibility requirement. If employers choose to include a Financial Eligibility requirement, it will mirror the requirements of the state plan.
What Are the Requirements for Private Plans?
Employers may opt-out of the state Family and Medical Leave plan, or just the state Family or Medical Leave plan if they have an approved private Paid Family Leave, Paid Medical Leave or Paid Family and Medical Leave exemption and offer a private plan that provides comparable or more generous benefits than the state plan. However, employers should be aware that separating the Medical from the Family Leave under different administrators could result in errors and create additional administrative burden and inconvenience to employers and employees, whether fully or self-insured. For more information on the advantages of single administration, see Tips for Choosing a Private or State Plan.
- Private plans require an exemption from the state plan. Exemptions are approved by the Department of Family and Medical Leave.
- The employee’s contributions for a private plan can’t be any greater than it is for the state plan.
- Private plan exemptions must be renewed and approved by the state annually.
- If a private plan exemption is approved, employers must still remit contributions to the state plan until the first day of the quarter on which the exemption becomes effective.
- Employers may contribute more or waive employee contributions if they wish
Self-insured plans must be bonded. Your representative can help you with a bond solution from The Hartford. See the bond requirements from the Department of Family and Medical Leave.
What Will I Need To Submit When I Renew My Private Plan Exemption?
Employers need to submit an updated and signed “Confirmation of Insurance” form to the DFML when renewing a private plan exemption. The MA DFML website describes the process for doing so.
Note: The Hartford has a unique “Confirmation of Insurance” form. To obtain a copy of this form, contact your representative at The Hartford.
What Do Employers Have To Do To Notify Employees of MA PFML?
Massachusetts employers are required to distribute materials notifying employees of MA PFML benefits and withholdings. Workplace posters must be displayed, and employers are also required to provide written notice to new employees. Notices must include the opportunity for an employee or covered contract worker to acknowledge receipt or decline to acknowledge receipt of the information. Customers of The Hartford will receive unique employee posters and notices for distribution to their employees.
For the state plan, employee communication materials and requirements can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave website.
Please reach out to your employee benefits representative at The Hartford for additional information.
7473 NS 11/23
MA Paid Family & Medical Leave Form Series includes GBD-1852
This informational material is subject to change as The Hartford continues to receive guidance from states and municipalities. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for legal compliance with respect to an employer’s business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute The Hartford’s undertaking on a company’s behalf, or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that an employer’s business operations are in compliance with any law, rule, or regulation. Employers seeking resolution of specific legal or business issues, questions, or concerns regarding this topic should consult their own attorney or business advisors; and employees should continue to consult their employers’ Human Resources or other employment benefits department for guidance on the application of any law, rule, or regulation.
The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries, including underwriting companies Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company and Hartford Fire Insurance Company, under the brand name, The Hartford,® and is headquartered at One Hartford Plaza, Hartford, CT 06155. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice at www.thehartford.com.