January 28, 2019

Labor releases draft paid leave law regulations

The state released draft rules for the new paid family and medical leave program on Wednesday, laying out how it sees the new Department of Family and Medical Leave operating and giving the public a chance to weigh in on the proposed regulations.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, in conjunction with the governor's office and Executive Office of Administration and Finance, drafted the proposed regulations and will host a series of public hearings on them through Feb. 19.

The new family and medical leave program was created as part of the so-called Grand Bargain, an expansive law which the Legislature passed and Gov. Charlie Baker signed in June.

The new law calls for up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, to care for a new child, or to meet family needs arising from a family member's active duty military service. It also authorizes up to 20 weeks of job-protected paid leave to recover from a worker's own serious illness or injury, or to care for a seriously ill or injured service member.

Benefits will become available on Jan. 1, 2021 for workers seeking time off to bond with a new child, take care of a sick or injured servicemember or to tend to a serious personal health condition. On July 1, 2021, benefits will be made available for workers to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

The estimated $800 million benefits program will be backed by a 0.63 percent payroll tax, which the Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) said it plans to begin collecting from employers on July 1.

The first listening session will be held Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. in the State House's Gardner Auditorium. A complete listing of hearings is available from DFML

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