On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) published important guidance from the Division of Insurance (DOI) for employers opting out of the Commonwealth's Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program through insured private family and/or medical leave plans.  Significantly, the new guidance requires insurance carriers to submit policy forms to the DOI by June 3, 2020.  While this guidance does not apply to self-insured employers, employers seeking a self-insured exemption may use the resources provided below to ensure that their self-administered PFML private plans comply with the Commonwealth's PFML requirements.

The DOI's guidance includes a 20-page Filing Guidance Notice, which contains a PFML Policy Template for private insurance carriers offering paid family and medical leave plans.  In addition, the DOI issued a PFML Policy Form Checklist, which carriers must complete and submit with policy packages submitted to the DOI for approval.  The DOI is also offering an expedited review process for carriers submitting paid family and medical leave policy forms to ensure employers have adequate time to consider carriers' products before PFML benefits begin on January 1, 2021 (PFML benefits commence January 1, 2021 except for family leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, which commences July 1, 2021).

PFML Policy Template

  • The DOI's PFML Policy Template contains the standard provisions needed in order to meet DFML exemption requirements.
  • Insurance carriers must submit policy forms that contain all of the required PFML provisions to the DOI by June 3, 2020.

PFML Policy Forms Checklist

  • The DOI requires all insurance carriers to submit a completed PFML Policy Forms Checklist, which the DOI will also use to ensure submitted plans meet all requirements.
  • After the DOI confirms that an insurance carrier has satisfied the requirements outlined in the PFML Policy Forms Checklist, an insurance carrier can proceed to issue policies to employers.

If an employer previously applied for an exemption with the DFML with a carrier-issued Declaration of Insurance, the employer will be required to provide its policy form number in order to renew its exemption.  The DFML noted that it will provide further guidance on this process.

Employers that plan on implementing either a self-insured or privately insured paid family and/or medical leave plan and have not yet applied for an exemption from the Commonwealth's PFML contributions can still do so through the MassTaxConnect portal.  Exemption applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and exemptions take effect the quarter following approval.

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