As we previously reported, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) recently issued regulations and guidance concerning employers’ obligations under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (“PFML”), including a quick-approaching deadline for providing notice to employees of their rights under the PFML. On May 1, the DFML announced that it is extending the deadline for employers to provide the employee notice from May 31, 2019 to June 30, 2019.

In addition, the DFML has moved the deadline for employers to apply for a private plan exemption for Quarter 1 only from June 30, 2019 to September 20, 2019.

Under the DFML’s rules, applications for private plan exemptions must be approved in the quarter prior to the quarter in which they go into effect. Thus, this is a one-time exception to the rule. However, as the DFML reminds and cautions, 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.”

What Employers Should Do Now

In addition to the steps we have previously suggested, employers should consider the following actions:

  • Ensure that the company is prepared to distribute the employee notice by the new deadline.
  • For employers deciding whether to apply for a private plan exemption during the newly announced extension period, consult with tax and/or legal advisors as to what the DFML describes as “the implications associated with applying for a private plan exemption that may or may not be approved.”
  • As the DFML is continuing to accept comments on the draft PFML regulations, consider submitting comments and/or attending two additional listening sessions to be held in May. According to the DFML, the dates for these sessions will be announced shortly. Thus, anyone interested in attending should check the DFML website regularly for updates.