Considering a private plan? 

To help ensure an optimal experience for employees, businesses must choose between the state-run plan, or a private plan for their MA PFML coverage.

If your business is considering a private plan, it’s not too late. MA DFML is continuing to accept applications for private plan exemptions on an ongoing basis. 

See below for more information to assist you in meeting your obligations as a MA employer.

Paid Family and Medical Leave is a statewide program that allows eligible employees paid time off for:

  • Attending to their own serious health condition, including pregnancy or recovery from childbirth
  • Caring for a family member with a serious health condition
  • Bonding with a new child (within 12 months of birth or placement of child via foster care or adoption)
  • Attending to a qualifying military exigency
  • Caring for a family member who is a covered service member

Covered family member includes: spouses, domestic partners, children (biological, adoptive and foster), parents, parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings.

Benefits were payable beginning January 1, 2021, for an employee’s own serious health condition, bonding with a new child, military exigency, and care of a service member.  Benefits began July 1, 2021, for care of a seriously-ill family member.

Most all Massachusetts employers, and out of state employers that have employees working in Massachusetts,  are required to participate.   However, some employers and employment types are considered to be  excluded employment under MA PFML law.  For more information on employer’s obligations and assistance in determine employee eligibility,  visit  MA Employer's Guide to Paid Family and Medical Leave.

Covered employers have the option to file for an exemption from the state-run program administered by the Department of Family and Medical Leave and secure coverage through a private insurance plan offered by an insurance carrier or to self-fund. Learn more about the  Paid Family and Medical Leave exemption application process for employers. 

Private plan exemptions can be filed anytime. If approved by the state, the exemption will go into effect the first of the quarter following the approval.

Covered individuals may be eligible to receive up to:

  • 12 weeks of paid family leave in a benefit year for:  
    • bonding with a  new child within the first 12 months of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.  
    • a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to active duty in the Armed Forces; and/or
    • caring for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • 26 weeks of paid family leave in a benefit year to care for a family member who is a covered service member undergoing medical treatment or otherwise addressing consequences of a serious health condition relating to the family member’s military service.
  • 20 weeks of paid medical leave in a benefit year if the covered individual  has a serious health condition that prevents them from working.

The total combined amount of paid leave an employee can take in one benefit year is 26 weeks. Leave may be taken on a continuous, reduced or intermittent schedule depending on the leave type and subject to agreement between the employer and employee as appropriate.
    
The weekly benefit amount is based on the individual’s earnings, with a maximum benefit of 64 percent of the Massachusetts statewide average weekly wage.  For 2022, the maximum benefit is $1,084.31 per week. 

Benefits are subject to change annually as set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) and will be adjusted no later than October 1 for each upcoming year.

  • Renew Your Private Plan Exemption, if applicable,  prior to the expiration of your current private plan exemption approval. Instructions on How to Renew your Private Plan Exemption.
  • Educate yourself and your administrative teams on the laws concerning paid family leave and medical leave  benefit changes and employer requirements.
  • Consult with your payroll department and/or payroll vendor to confirm it is prepared to update the payroll system to properly administer the appropriate payroll deductions for both PFL and PML  as dictated by the State for each calendar year. As the employer, you are responsible to ensure the correct employee deductions are applied, per the state guidance.   
  • Update your current company leave policies/employee handbooks to reflect the updated MA Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit provisions.
  • Inform your covered individuals - Employers are required to provide written notice of their PFML benefit provisions, contribution rates and  insurer (state or private carrier).  For more information on Informing your MA workforce about PFML.

Guardian has a private plan option to assist covered employers in meeting their obligation to provide Massachusetts’ state mandated PFML coverage.

Our product offering is fully-insured, state-approved and competitively priced.   Plus, our digital capabilities can make administration easier – with online claims submission and access to bills, policies, and reports. 

You can count on:

  • Dedicated support to file a private plan exemption with the state.
  • Assistance with adjusting Short Term Disability (STD) and Long Term Disability (LTD) plan
    designs to integrate with a PFML plan.
  • A single point-of-contact for disability and/or paid leave claims inquiries.
  • Experienced claims management by tenured professionals, including safe and effective return to work support.
  • Updates on new regulations and ongoing guidance to keep you compliant.

Please contact your Guardian Group Sales Consultant or broker for quoting requirements and additional information concerning a MA PFML private plan option through Guardian.

Guardian has provided employers with statutory disability plans for more than a decade, taking a consultative approach to bring the right resources together for successful PFML plan implementation and management, no matter the level of complexity. Our management of PFML plans helps ensure that any Human Resources team can meet the challenge of efficiently managing employee leaves while easing administrative burden and enhancing compliance.  

Our Guardian Absence SolutionsSMcan help reduce the administrative burden and enhance compliance with the integrated management of STD and LTD benefits, state and federal family medical leaves, and company leaves. Available to companies with 50 or more employees, employers can choose from a variety of plans and service options, including ADA support.  Effective employee leave management is key to ensuring your business remains compliant with state laws, helping you to avoid costly fines. 

Disclaimer

Guardian Absence SolutionsSM is a service mark of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.

All terms of coverage, including benefits, eligibility, coverage limitations and exclusions under Guardian’s Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave plan (MA PFML) will comply with MA PFML law and regulation. Any optional riders and/or features which may be available may incur additional costs. Plan documents are the final arbiter of coverage.

Group insurance products are underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. Products are not available in all states.

* Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agent and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof. Does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or account professional regarding your individual situation.

Guardian’s Group Short and Long Term Disability Insurance is underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY.  Products are not available in all states.  Policy limitations and exclusions apply.  Optional riders and/or features may incur additional costs.

GUARDIAN® is a registered trademark of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. © Copyright 2021 The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

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