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.

  • Who is an employee?
  • Do employers pay premiums for furloughed employees?
  • What about workers who were laid off but called back to meet the June 1, 2020 deadline for forgiveness on loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?

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:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Seasonal

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. is the company’s gateway to premium service, low insurance rates, and high commissions.

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