Massachusetts Releases Paid Household And Medical Go away Updates

Seyfarth Synopsis: Massachusetts Family Paid Vacation and Medical Leave (PFML) benefits are now available to Massachusetts workers. On January 12, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (Department) released several updates including temporary vacation guidelines, refunds for qualified paid vacation plans, and updated FAQs. A summary of the department’s updates and links to the new guidance can be found here.

The department released a number of updates on Jan. 12, 2021, including updated temporary vacation guidelines [link: here]Learn about reimbursements for qualified paid vacation plans [link: here]and updated FAQs [link: here ].

Temporary vacation

The ministry had previously issued guidelines on temporary leave in December 2020, which have been withdrawn. These guidelines have now been reissued with some changes. Basically, the department made it clear that in order to take a temporary vacation or a vacation with shortened vacation due to an employee’s severe health condition, a family member with a severe health condition must be cared for in order to care for an insured service member with a serious injury or illness An employer’s policy ( within the framework of the public program or an approved private plan) can set a minimum increment, which cannot, however, exceed at least one hour. This brings the PFML Act in line with the treatment of temporary vacation gains by the Federal Act on Family and Sick Leave.

For claims under the department-managed public program, the increments must be measured in 15-minute multiples. Therefore, the minimum increment for employers in the public program must be set to a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 60 minutes, and be in a 15-minute multiple (i.e. a minimum increment of 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes). If the employer does not set a minimum increment, the department will default to a minimum increment of 15 minutes. The department does not pay for increments of less than 15 minutes, and only pays temporary vacation and vacation on a reduced schedule if the employee has accumulated eight hours of vacation time or more than 30 calendar days have passed since the first vacation.

As a reminder, detention leave can only be taken with a temporary or shortened vacation schedule if the employer and employee so agree, including in the schedule.

Refunds for Qualified Paid Vacation Plans

The PFML Act allows employers in the public program who also offer paid temporary disability, family, or sick leave under certain circumstances to be reimbursed by the department. If, during a period of family or sick leave, an employer makes payments to an insured person that is equal to or greater than the amount prescribed by the PFML Act, the employer may be entitled to reimbursement of benefits that the person received from the insured person would have received department. Employers are not entitled to reimbursement if the employee has received benefits from the state.

The department clarified that the only payments that are reimbursable are those made through a paid temporary disability, family, or sick leave scheme, or payments from an extended sick leave bank.[1] To be eligible for reimbursement, the employer’s temporary disability insurance or paid family and sick leave insurance must be a self-insured plan. Employers who have fully insured plans will not be reimbursed for payments from an insurer, even if the employee or employer pays part of the premium for the insurance plan.

Payments for an employee’s earned or accrued time (e.g. PTO, sickness, vacation, and personal time) are non-refundable. Benefits paid through an approved private PFML plan are also non-refundable.

Employers on the public program can submit a reimbursement request by signing up to with a vacation manager. There you will find a link to a form with which you can submit a claim for reimbursement. Employers must have set up a specific contact to the vacation administrator via their employer account.

The employee must first submit an application to the department before an employer can request a refund. The ministry noted that it is working on a solution for employers to submit reimbursement requests when the employee receives payment from their employer only during their vacation and otherwise does not request any benefit from the DFML.

FAQs on Using Accrued Paid Leave

The department has also updated their FAQs. As previously reported, the FAQs confirm that public program employees cannot “top up” PFML benefits by using accrued paid time off. However, under an approved private plan, employers may allow workers to supplement their PFML benefit with accrued paid leave.

Other updates

The department has provided information on how employers can set up their employer accounts to review PFML applications. You can find it here.

The department also provided additional guidance for employers with multiple companies requesting exemptions from private plans. Employers with multiple companies must submit an exemption application for each company separately under the EIN of each company. You can submit the same forms for each company, as long as they include a document on the organization’s letterhead that includes the names of each company and confirms that all listed companies are covered by the policy or plan for paid vacation.

We will continue to provide updates as soon as the department releases new information. If you have any questions, please contact one of the authors or your Seyfarth lawyer.

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