The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has continued to issue guidance and clarifications regarding the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML) since the law went into effect in January 2021. The most recent updates to the Program are below.
Average Weekly Wage
The average weekly wage (AWW) for 2022 will be $1,694.24. This is an increase from the prior AWW of $1,487.78.
Maximum Benefit Amount
The maximum weekly PFML benefit amount for 2022 will be $1,084.31. This is an increase from the previous maximum amount of $850 per week.
As of January 1, 2022, the overall contribution rate for employers with 25 or more covered individuals will decrease from .75 percent of eligible wages to .68 percent.
The DFML has updated the PFML workplace poster and the individual worker notices to reflect the updated rates effective in 2022 as follows:
Employers may create their own worker notices as long as the notices include the following information as specified by the DFML:
Note that for 2022, employers are not required to reissue these notices to existing employees. These updated notices must be distributed to new employees who begin work on January 1, 2022, or later.
Applications for Leave
The DFML continues to work on increased guidance and functionality for its online application process. Most recently, it has announced that employer leave administrators who review worker applications may search, sort, and organize applications. Workers may now also check their application status through the DFML online system.
Updated Health Forms
The DFML updated its certification of a serious health condition form to be completed by both workers and their medical providers for workers requesting leave for their own serious health conditions. The DFML has also created a separate form to be used when a worker applies for leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
As a reminder, medical leave that a worker takes prior to or following pregnancy (or that is related to the pregnancy) does not run concurrently with the worker’s available bonding leave. This is different from coverage under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), possibly providing for substantially longer leave under the PFML.
Fiscal Year 2021 Report
As required by law, the DFML publishes an annual report containing a summary of applications received. The first report covers January 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021. (It does not include data for those employers that offer workers PFML under an exempt private plan.) The report includes the following notable data points:
The DFML website includes links to the DFML’s regulations, notices, and other guidance. The DFML also issues a newsletter to which readers can subscribe.
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