By Alicia Ward, Peter Moser, Kathleen Berney, Catherine Reuben November 21, 2022
Beginning in January 2023, the maximum weekly benefit that employees are eligible to receive through the PFML will be $1,129.82, an increase of $45.51 from the current maximum weekly benefit of $1,084.31. The benefit amount changes each year, effective January 1, to remain at 64% of the state average weekly wage, which will increase from $1,694.24 to $1,765.34 in 2023.
In addition, effective January 1, 2023, the total contribution rate for employers with 25 or more covered individuals will decrease from 0.68% to 0.63%; for employers with fewer than 25 covered individuals, the total contribution rate will decrease from 0.344% to 0.318%.
For additional details about updates to the contribution rates for 2023, please visit the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) website.
On November 15, 2022, the DFML published 2023 workforce notifications, posters, and rate sheets, reflecting among other things, the new rates and benefit amounts. Employers are required to provide written notice of PFML benefits, contribution rates, and other provisions as outlined in M.G.L. c. 175M § 4 to employees.
For current employees who have previously signed an acknowledgment form, employers must provide information about the new contribution rate 30 days in advance of the rate change (i.e., December 2, 2022). The notice may be provided electronically and does not require an updated signature.
For new hires, employers must provide notification within 30 days of hire. The notice must include the opportunity for an employee to accept or decline receipt of the information. Each employee should return a signed acknowledgment form, whether in paper or electronically, or the employer must be able to verify its effort to furnish the information to the employee.
The 2023 mandatory workplace poster updates the earnings requirement for a worker to qualify as a covered individual eligible for PFML benefits. Namely, the worker must have earned 30 times the expected benefit and more than $6,000 (adjusted annually) in the last four completed quarters preceding the application for benefits (an increase from $5,700 in 2022).
The 2023 mandatory workplace poster reflects the changes in weekly benefit amounts, contribution rates, and covered individual eligibility. All Massachusetts employers must display this poster in a location where it can be easily read. Employers may also consider making this poster digitally available to reach remote Massachusetts workers, if any.
Employers providing benefits through the Commonwealth’s plan remain responsible for remitting family and medical leave contributions to the DFML on behalf of their covered individuals. With the new rates for 2023, employers should prepare to make the appropriate payroll adjustments, adopt revised workforce notifications, and replace the 2022 mandatory workplace poster with the 2023 mandatory workplace poster at the start of the New Year. Further, employers who have leave policies that include reference to contribution rates and other details that are subject to the 2023 updates should revise the same accordingly.
Employers have a continuing obligation to provide written notice to their current workforce of PFML benefits, contribution rates, and other provisions as outlined in the PFML statute. With the new rate contributions going into effect on January 1, 2023, employers will be required to give notice to their employees by December 2, 2022. Failure to provide the required notifications may result in fines, including $50 per employee for the first violation and $300 per employee for subsequent violations.
If you have any questions about Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave and its potential impact on your business, please contact: