Massachusetts Final PFML Regulations Are In!

As reported in May, the Massachusetts Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave (DPFML) announced their intention to update its final regulations.  The final regulations are here!  

Among the highlights to these final regulations are:

  • Clarifying that the for employee’s working variable workweeks, a week for PFML purposes is determined by averaging the number of hours worked from the two highest quarters
  • Continuing treatment by a health care provider allow for telehealth visits to meet that requirement
  • Wages received from multiple employers can be aggregated to determine financial eligibility for leave
  • Intermittent leave can be taken and paid out in 15-minute increments, though an individual will not be permitted to apply for intermittent PFML benefits until they have 8 hours of accumulated leave time (unless more than 30 calendar days has elapsed since the initial taking of such leave.
  • For employers switching from the public plan option to private plan (or vice versa), existing PFML claims will continue to be paid out under the plan that initially approved the claim for the entire leave duration.
  • Covered individuals who become unemployed from their employer and later have a need to apply for PFML benefits, but remain unemployed shall apply for such benefits with their former employer, if they have a private PFML plan and have been separated for less than 26 weeks.
  • PFML Leave for substance abuse disorders will only be permitted if be taken for treatment for substance use disorder by a health care provider, by a provider of health care services on referral by a health care provider or by a program licensed or approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 
  • An employer with an established policy, applied in a non-discriminatory manner that has been communicated to all employees, that provides under certain circumstances an employee may be terminated for substance use, pursuant to that policy, the employee may be terminated whether or not they are presently taking leave.
  • No PFML benefits are to be paid during the initial seven day waiting period
  • No PFML benefits are to be paid during a time when employer-provided paid leave (such as vacation, sick, PTO, extended illness bank) is used
  • An employer’s application of a preexisting rule or policy will be sufficient to overcome presumptions of retaliation should an adverse action later be taken by an employer within six months following an employee’s PFML leave.

EANE has partnered with the law firm of Skoler, Abbott and Presser, P.C. to review these regulations and the practical implications for your business in an upcoming webinar. Click here to learn more about this webinar that is FREE to EANE members.