As Massachusetts enters phased reopening, businesses get set to pay Family Medical Leave premiums
Earlier this year, Massachusetts introduced the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML) for W-2 employees as well as some 1099 independent contractors. Benefits won’t go into effect until 2021, but employers can begin paying into the plan now.
As a shared benefit, MA Family Medical Leave Act premium costs are split between the employer and employees or contractors. Organizations with fewer than 25 employees can offer the plan to their workers as a voluntary, employee-funded benefit.
July 1, 2020 marks the first deadline for payments.
Coming as it does on the heels of coronavirus reopenings across the state, the deadline may lead to some confusion for employers.
How Much Do Employers Need to Pay?
Statutory insurance brokers in Massachusetts who work with The DBL Center can write FMLA policies independent of other lines. Employers can privatize policies under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act affordably while receiving white-glove service.
With the first MA PFML payments coming up, business owners may wonder how much they owe for their plan, whether it’s funded by the state of Massachusetts or written privately. Amidst the confusion of reopening and re-hiring employees, businesses may need guidance when it comes to Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave Act premium payments.
Premiums are based on the total number of lives in a company, which includes all W-2 employees:
Independent contractors (1099 workers) are responsible to write their own policies and pay the full 0.75% contribution.
Businesses should report figures for the prior 3-month period. Contributions made by July 1, 2020 should include the total headcount from April, May, and June.
What About Furloughed Workers?
As COVID-19, the novel coronavirus pandemic struck across the U.S., many employers laid off or furloughed workers. If furloughed employees or workers on unemployment have earned at least $4,700 in the prior 12 months before filing, they may be eligible to file a PFML claim in January if they meet all other requirements.
In most cases, employers would still pay into benefits packages for furloughed employees, so these workers would count toward the organization’s number of active lives. However, unemployed workers would not.
During the pandemic, many organizations laid off employees and then brought them back to meet the June 1 deadline for loan forgiveness on a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan issued as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Employees re-hired by June 1 would need to be counted as part of Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act premium payments.
Need Help Calculating Premiums for the Paid Family Medical Leave Act Coverage in Mass?
With so many changes going on for business owners right now, calculating Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act premiums can be complicated. It depends on employers’ total lives for the past three months. These numbers may have varied wildly as employees were furloughed or laid off and then brought back over the next few weeks. These employees count toward worker totals since they will be working in June.
“Here at The DBL Center, we’ve been experts in statutory insurance since 1976 when my father David Cohen started the company,” says Michael Cohen, DBL Center President and CEO. “With the tools, information, and resources we provide, our brokers are well equipped to deliver the best rates and superior service for privatized Massachusetts PFML insurance policies.”
About The DBL Center Ltd.
Celebrating 40+ years in the insurance industry, The DBL Center services 100,000 insured corporations through 4,000 brokers across 15 states as a wholesale insurance general agency. The DBL Center specializes in Disability Benefits Law (DBL) and PFL (Paid Family Leave) coverage in New York, Temporary Disability Benefits (TDB) in New Jersey, and Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) in Hawaii. The DBL Center also underwrites, manages and maintains Group Life/AD&D, vision, and dental packages, as well as individual life and income replacement policies, giving brokers and their customers the benefits of multi-line discounts and a single point-of-contact.
Through its dedication to personalized, concierge-level service, The DBL Center Ltd. remains true to its roots as a family- owned and operated, relationship-focused wholesale insurance agency.
InsuranceWholesaler.net is the company’s gateway to premium service, low insurance rates, and high commissions.
For more information, visit InsuranceWholesaler.net, call (631) 293.5100 or connect with us on LinkedIn.
by Michael Cohen
Cloud-based Broker Dashboard and other tools help keep The DBL Center in touch with its brokers and help brokers serve their clients
Things are changing rapidly across the U.S. with new legislation related to family leave for coronavirus. DBL Center, the family-owned and operated wholesale insurance general agency specializing in statutory short-term disability benefits, strives to be a COVID-19 insurance resource center in New York and across the northeast U.S., providing customers with personalized service and cutting-edge technology.
Even before the coronavirus hit the U.S., The DBL Center had been on top of remote technology that makes it easier for brokers to write new business and manage their accounts from any internet-enabled device.
For brokers looking to provide the lowest premiums and best service to their business customers while increasing profitability, The DBL Center provides the technology and resources needed to write state-mandated disability coverage in New York, New Jersey, and beyond. But there are some things brokers may not know about The DBL Center.
Most insurance brokers are now working remotely as part of shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders from the governors in their states.
As a cloud-based app, DBL Center’s Broker Dashboard makes it easy for insurance brokers to log in from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. When brokers bind new policies in real time through the DBL Center website, those accounts link automatically to their personalized Broker Dashboard.
“The Broker Dashboard has become an essential tool during the pandemic, enabling brokers to continue to bind policies and manage accounts while they practice social distancing and work from home,” says DBL Center President Michael Cohen.
Reports are automatically emailed on the first and 15th of every month, enabling brokers to provide their customers with proactive service.
Pandemic or not, DBL Center is standing by to answer questions related to PFL and DBL claims, statutory disability policies, and more. Start a chat at any time, from any page of the DBL Center website.
4. DBL Center has expanded its offerings from NY, NJ and Hawaii into Massachusetts as a result of new Paid Family Leave policies.
DBL Center’s home state of New York set the precedent for generous Paid Family Leave policies three years ago and DBL Center was at the forefront of helping brokers transition to DBL policies with PFL riders. Now, DBL Center can help Massachusetts brokers write Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage, too.
DBL Center recently launched a COVID-19 resource center for brokers writing DBL and PFL in New York.
“We were one of the first in our industry to report on the federal Families First Act and how it will affect insurance claims. We are working virtually round-the-clock to provide updated news and information as it happens,” Cohen says.
Coming soon, DBL Center will launch a pre-screening form to help brokers and business owners determine who is eligible for PFL in New York and who should be applying for aid through the Families First Act or filing for unemployment.
David Cohen started The DBL Center in 1976 based on a business model that followed the boutique hotels he loved to visit on vacations, delivering white-glove, concierge-level service to brokers in a way that was unprecedented at the time.
Michael Cohen took over as President and CEO after his father’s passing. David Cohen’s legacy lives on in the creativity, vibrancy, and innovation Michael Cohen brings to the company. DBL Center continues to deliver the same level of customer service as it always has, leveraging carrier relationships and cutting-edge technology to provide brokers with the lowest premiums available and the highest levels of service.
DBL Center helps its brokers support their clients through this difficult time
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, business owners and employees in New York and New Jersey have many questions about short-term disability and paid family leave coverage. DBL Center, the family-owned and operated wholesale insurance general agency specializing in statutory short-term disability benefits, is here to answer questions and supply its insurance brokers with the information they need to help business owners and benefits managers across the region.
Common Questions about Short Term Disability and COVID-19
In this tumultuous time, employers and employees may wonder:
DBL Center, its network of brokers, and its trusted carriers, are working hard to provide timely answers to these questions and many others.
To better serve their customers, DBL Center brokers can reach a knowledgeable DBL Center representative at any time, 24/7, through the company’s new chat feature on its website.
Coronavirus and Short-term Disability Policies: What You Need to Know
Right now, a coronavirus diagnosis or quarantine does not constitute automatic approval of a short-term disability claim in New York or New Jersey. Some policies from certain carriers, however, may carry quarantine provisions.
If an employee is sick and unable to work due to COVID-19, these claims will be determined on a case by case basis, depending on the severity and length of the illness. Some cases requiring hospitalization may qualify for short-term disability in New York and New Jersey.
Claims submitted with a diagnosis of coronavirus will be evaluated based on all applicable contract provisions. The insured will need to provide proof that they are under the care of a Health Care Provider that can certify the disability and that the employee is unable to perform their job duties either in the workplace or via remote access.
PFL and the Coronavirus
New York State PFL claims for paid time off to care for children over a year old who are home from school because their school closed may be denied. If a child is diagnosed with COVID-19, PFL claims would be determined on an individual basis, depending on the severity of the illness.
Working from Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In an attempt to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the virus, we understand that many P&C brokers who manage disability policies will be working remotely. DBL Center is here to support these brokers online and by phone.
“Our brokers have the ability to Bind DBL policies UNDER 50 lives from any internet-enabled computer, whether at home or in the office in order to keep the economy moving,” says Michael S. Cohen, DBL Center President and CEO. “Our exclusive Broker Dashboard gives our brokers access to all their policies and preferred carriers from any internet-enabled device, as well. During these challenging times, we will do everything we can to help our brokers support the businesses they serve with the information they need. We feel it’s important for everyone to work together as we face this unprecedented situation.”