Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Program: December 2023 End-of-Year Update

Quick Hits

The 2024 Workplace Poster

All Massachusetts employers must display a workplace poster prepared or approved by the DFML that explains the benefits available under the PFML program. This poster must be displayed at the employer’s workplace in a location where it can be easily read (for example, near other mandatory workplace posters like wage and hours and workplace safety notices). This poster must be available in both English and each language that is the primary language of five or more individuals in the workforce, if translations are available from DFML. The 2024 state template workplace poster can be found at the department’s website.

Employers with private plans will note that this year’s poster looks a bit different, as it now requires an employer with a private plan to write in the name of the private insurer administering the private plan, whether the plan covers medical benefits, family benefits, or both, and the contact information for the private insurer.

2024 Notices for Individuals

The department has issued its 2024 notices for individuals. There are multiple versions:

New workers must be issued these notices within thirty days of hire, but these 2024 updated notices are not required to be reissued to current workers. The notice must be available in English and each language which is the primary language of five or more individuals in your workforce. DFML provides translations in English and twelve other languages. The employer is responsible for providing translation with regard to any language not provided by the DFML.

Employers may note that these 2024 notices now reference the recent MA PFML topping off update, more information on which can be found here. There are still open questions on the recent topping-off update from the DFML, so employers should stay tuned for additional guidance from the DFML.

2024 Rate Notices

The department has issued its 2024 rate sheets. There are two versions:

On its website, the DFML advises that for current employees and self-employed individuals who have previously signed individual notices, employers must provide information on these new rates thirty days in advance of the rate change. This notice may be provided electronically and does not require an updated signature.

DFML Audits of Notice Compliance

Employers have recently reported receiving audit requests from the DFML related to their notice compliance. The DFML has issued employers forms with questions regarding notice compliance, including but not limited to issues such as whether employers have

The DFML may request follow-up information after an initial request for information, and employers will likely want to respond promptly. Employers may want to follow up with the DFML to confirm that their responses to any such audit requests have been received by the DFML.

In some cases, employers have reported being issued fines related to apparent deficiencies in their responses to these audit requests. As a reminder, a first violation of these notice requirements may result in a fine of $50 per Massachusetts employee, and any subsequent violations may result in a fine of $300 per Massachusetts employee.

The DFML has provided opportunities to appeal such fines, and employers likely will want to respond promptly to any such notice of civil fine and gather clarifying or additional information needed.

FY 2023 Annual Report

The Massachusetts PFML statute requires the DFML to issue annual reports containing information about applicants. The most recent annual report contains interesting statistical information regarding applicants for PFML benefits in fiscal year (FY) 2023. The DFML’s FY2023 Annual Report for the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Program can be found on the department’s website.

Staying Informed

The DFML website includes links to the DFML’s regulations, notices, and other guidance. The DFML also issues a newsletter to which readers may subscribe.

© 2024, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.
National Law Review, Volumess XIII, Number 335