Seyfarth Synopsis: On Friday, August 28, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) issued an alert regarding the upcoming deadlines for the extension and renewal of private plan exemptions to the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Act. The alert also includes a link to the Final Regulations found here.

Overview of the Private Plan Exemption Renewal Process As a reminder, there are two types of private plan exemptions: (1) self-insured plans, and (2) fully insured plans through an approved PFML insurance carrier. There are different deadlines and requirements for each of these private plan exemptions. Employers should confirm that they are in compliance with the requirements for their type of private plan described below.

Employers that do not intend to renew their self-insured or fully insured private plan exemption should inform the DFML by contacting the PFML Contact Center at (617) 466-3950 or sending an e-message via MassTaxConnect.

Employers whose private plan (whether self-insured or fully insured) is not in effect on January 1, 2021 will be responsible for PFML contributions retroactive to October 1, 2019 or the effective date of the employer’s renewal, whichever is later.

Self-Insured Plan Exemption Renewals Previously approved self-insured plans are only exempt from contributions to the PFML Trust Fund through September 30, 2020. To renew a self-insured plan exemption for another year (i.e. October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021), the renewal application must be submitted by September 30, 2020. The application process for self-insured plan exemption renewal is open now.

Please note that the DFML recently changed its bond requirements and bond form. Employers must actively renew the self-insured exemption through MassTaxConnect and submit the following documents:

  • a copy of the recently revised surety bond form, using the bond amount calculated using the 2021 surety bond calculator; and
  • a self-insured declaration document, available here

The DFML has also updated its resources related to the self-insured plan here.

Fully Insured Plan Exemption Extension and Renewals Previously approved fully insured plans have an exemption from contributions to the Trust Fund through December 31, 2020. To renew a fully insured plan exemption for another year (i.e. January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021), the renewal application must be submitted by December 31, 2020. However, the renewal application process will not open until November 30, and applications submitted earlier will not be accepted.

Employers must actively renew their fully insured plan exemption through MassTaxConnect. To complete the renewal process, employers must provide their policy form number via an Insurance Declaration Document signed by their carrier. The policy form number is located on the PFML policy forms provided by the employer’s PFML insurance carrier. To learn more about renewing a private plan exemption, please visit the DFML website here.

An employer that plans to switch from a fully insured plan to a self-insured plan should begin the process prior to the September 30, 2020 deadline for self-insured plans.

Other Upcoming Deadlines The PFML benefits provided to employees will go into effect on January 1, 2021. Late last night, the DFML also released an Employer Toolkit to assist employers.

To provide updates and address questions regarding the preparation for the January 1 commencement date, we will be hosting a webinar on October 14, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. ET. We will provide more details in the coming weeks.