Employers in many states may look at paid family leave as a distant and remote possibility. However, HR professionals across the country are already managing the realities of state-mandated paid family leave laws, while still others are preparing for the regulatory changes stemming from recently-passed state leave laws that have yet to go into effect.
The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 – the landmark federal regulation that mandates large organizations offer up to 12 weeks unpaid leave – is the last major initiative that dealt directly with employee leave at the federal level.
Last week, CheckWriters sent a note announcing the MA PFML delay in contribution collection until October 1st − this document has been updated with the most current information on the program. Read this post for a full explanation of the latest updates.
Employers and HR Pros finally have an update regarding the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Survey. The pay and hours update (aka Component 2) to the EEO-1 Survey has been long-anticipated. Employers are relieved to learn the pay data and hours collection requirement has been pushed to September 30, 2019. Component 1, however (which is the current EEO-1 report) is still due for applicable employers on May 31.
Here's what you need to know about EEO Reporting in general: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that administers and enforces workplace discrimination laws and collects race, ethnicity, and gender data by job category from applicable employers via the annual EEO-1 Survey. Employers with at least 100 employees, as well as federal contractors with 50 employees and a contract, subcontract, or P.O. of $50,000 or more, are required to submit the EEO-1 Survey annually. Noncompliance or false statements can result in severe penalties.
The long-anticipated updated draft regulations for the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law were released the last week of March. Although this release was originally slated to include the final regulations, MA has stated that there will be one additional update prior to the regulation going live on July 1.
As part of the Massachusetts “Grand Bargain,” PFML will provide paid family and employee medical leave benefits to Massachusetts workers beginning 2021. In addition to establishing a Department of Family and Medical Leave, the law also provides a processfor paid family leave of up to 12 weeks to care for a family member, and up to 20 weeks for an individual employee’s own ailment or disability.
The Department of Labor has released a new proposed rule to increase the minimum salary that an employee must earn to be exempt from minimum wage and overtime under a white collar exemption. The proposed rule requires that salaried exempt executive, professional, administrative, and computer employees must be paid at least $679 per week on a salary basis, an increase from the current minimum of $455 per week. The rule allows for non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments to account for up to 10% of the minimum, so long as they are paid out on at least an annual basis; currently commissions and bonuses cannot be counted toward the minimum. The DOL also proposes that highly compensated employees must be paid at least $147,414 per year to qualify as exempt. Of that amount, at least $679 per week must be paid on a salary or fee basis. The anticipated effective date of this rule is January 2020.
Employers in Massachusetts will recall that recent “Grand Bargain” legislation resulted in a number of significant changes, including:
Yearly increases of the minimum wage and tipped minimum wage (2018 rate of $11 per hour increased to $12 per hour on January 1, 2019)
Decrease in Sunday premium pay (1.4 times regular rate from 1.5 times regular rate)
Changes to the calculation and payment of tipped employees’ wages
Creation of a permanent sales tax holiday
Creation of a new Paid Family and Medical Leave program
While all of these developments should be monitored closely by employers and HR professionals, those with tipped employees should pay particular attention to the changes to the calculation and payment of tipped employees’ wages.
As part of the Massachusetts “Grand Bargain,” paid family and medical leave (PFML) has been taking shape. The law will provide paid family and employee medical leave benefits for Massachusetts workers in 2021. Also, it will establish a Department and process for paid family leave of up to 12 weeks to care for a family member, and up to 20 weeks for an individual employee’s own ailment or disability.
The tax that will pay for these benefits will begin in July 2019, and paid leave benefits themselves will be available beginning in 2021. The initial contribution rate will be 0.63 percent of all wages (or other qualifying earnings or payments). This amount is anticipated to increase over time, however no set schedule for this has been communicated to employers.
Businesses that employ one or more individuals are subject to the PFML law and must submit contributions on behalf of workers and covered individuals. Employers with fewer than 25 employees must submit contributions on behalf of their employees to cover the portion of PFML contribution due from employees and covered individuals, however they are not required to pay the employerportion of the contributions for family and medical leave. The Department has stated that cities, towns, districts, and political subdivisions are exempt unless they decide to opt in.
The Federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009, but many states, counties, and cities have passed their own minimum wage laws. Employers must pay non-exempt employees at least minimum wage and if the mandated federal, state, or municipal rate differs, the highest rate must be paid.
18 states increased their minimum wage effective December 31, 2018 or January 1, 2019, and 3 more will increase their minimum wage later in 2019.
Massachusetts private employers and their HR teams are trying their best to obtain info and prepare, as MA joins a short (but growing), list of states providing employees with paid family and medical leave benefits on January 1, 2021. While this date may not seem to be looming around the corner, the effective date for the new payroll tax that will be funding these benefits is July 1st of 2019.
Without further clarity promised until the proposed regulations are released (no later than March 31, 2019), HR Pros and Business Owners are looking for all options and avenues available to illuminate this program and the responsibilities that must be met to comply.