Led by Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), a nine-member coalition of the Massachusetts business community, along with employee and low-income advocacy groups, just requested a three-month delay to the start of contributions to the Commonwealth's nascent paid family and medical leave program.
In their May 20 letter to Governor Baker and the leaders of both chambers of the legislature, the coalition sought the delay in order to ensure the successful rollout of the program, clarify employee and employer confusion, and to permit additional time for the legislature to consider five amendments to the statute to align the state program with the federal FMLA.
As AIM noted, "The call for a delay from politically diverse groups reflects growing concern that neither the marketplace nor employers nor their workers are adequately prepared for the sweeping new benefits program."
While there has been no official action on the request, a delay would be a welcome reprieve for the Bay State's employers given the lack of finality in regulations, the unavailability of private insurance plans for the "private exemption" envisioned by the law, and the overall state of confusion surrounding the paid leave program. Employers wishing to reach out to the state's leadership on the issue can do so here.
We will continue to monitor further developments and provide updates once state lawmakers make a decision regarding the request, so make sure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips' alert system to gather the most up-to-date information. For those employers who still have questions on the new program, Fisher Phillips hosted a complimentary webinar earlier this week, a recording of which is available here.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.