With the original July 1, 2019 deadline for numerous provisions of the Commonwealth’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”) legislation approaching in mere weeks, Massachusetts lawmakers have now issued a much-welcomed enforcement extension. The extensions comes as employers in the Commonwealth worked to comply with the new law.  The amended legislation, announced earlier this week and signed into law on June 13, provides as follows:

  • Required withholding now begins on October 1, 2019, rather than July 1. When the PFML takes effect, employers will be required to withhold PFML contributions for covered individuals, and must remit their contributions through MassTaxConnect by January 31, 2020. The extension gives Massachusetts employers more time to count their workforce, determine who is a covered individuals, and prepare to make the requisite withholdings. Notably, as a result of the extension, the total combined contribution rate has increased from 0.63% to 0.75% of employee qualified earnings. This rate, which is subject to change year to year, accounts for the three month delay in collections.
  • The date by which Massachusetts employers must notify their workers of the PFML has also been extended, from July 1 to September 30, 2019. By September 30, employers are required to notify those individuals covered by the PFML of their rights under the law, how to file a claim, and other key details, as discussed further here.
  • Those employers which already offer paid leave benefits may now have until December 20, 2019 to apply for an exemption from PFML requirements.
  • Finally, the Department of Family and Medical Leave announced that final regulations will be posted on Monday, June 17, 2019, and will be effective July 1. A discussion of the draft regulations is available here.

Employers should continue to monitor this space for further developments, and should be sure to consult with counsel as these updated deadlines approach.

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Photo of Mark W. Batten Mark W. Batten

Mark W. Batten is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Class & Collective Actions Group.

Mark represents employers nationwide at all stages of complex employment litigation, including class and collective actions on wage and hour matters…

Mark W. Batten is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Class & Collective Actions Group.

Mark represents employers nationwide at all stages of complex employment litigation, including class and collective actions on wage and hour matters and discrimination claims. Ranked by Chambers USA, Mark is hailed as “a fabulous lawyer, handling interesting and complex cases.” Clients “highly recommend him to anyone seeking litigation counsel in the Boston area,” as well as note “he is responsive, pragmatic and team-oriented, and offers excellent legal advice.”

He assists clients with all aspects of employment policies and practices, including hiring, termination, leaves, accommodation of disabilities, and other matters. Mark also handles diverse civil litigation, including litigation of noncompetition agreements, ERISA matters, discrimination and wrongful termination litigation in federal and state courts; proceedings before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination; wage and hour matters; and labor arbitrations. He is also an experienced appellate attorney both in employment cases and other civil litigation, handling appeals at all levels in the state courts and in the United States Courts of Appeals.

Mark also has substantial experience with traditional labor matters. He regularly represents employers in a variety of industries, including a number of newspaper and media companies, in collective bargaining, practice before the NLRB, labor arbitrations, union organizing campaigns, and day-to-day advice on administration of collective bargaining agreements. He regularly advises clients in both union and non-union settings on diligence matters in corporate acquisitions and financings. He also has experience on behalf of securities firms in arbitrations before the NASD and NYSE of customer and employee complaints.

Mark also practices on behalf of newspapers and other media in newsroom litigation, including libel defense and representation of reporters under subpoena, and has substantial experience in litigation involving access to sealed records and judicial proceedings on behalf of media companies.

Before joining Proskauer, Mark was a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, where he was lead counsel in major litigation for over two dozen federal agencies, ranging from the U.S. Air Force, the CIA, and the U.S. Secret Service to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mark regularly writes and lectures on employment-related matters, including, for instance, MCLE’s Representing Clients Before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

In his spare time, Mark is an experienced computer programmer, conversant in C, C++, and other languages. He has ported software between computer operating systems and has published several commercial computer games.