IT’S NOW THE LAW
HERE’S HOW THE NEW MASSACHUSETTS PAID FAMILY
& MEDICAL LEAVE LAW WILL AFFECT CONTRACTORS
By Erin Andrews, President – Stratlign Inc.
Earlier this year, the Commonwealth signed into
law a statute that provides paid family and medical
leave (PFML) benefits to all Massachusetts workers,
and the tax will be withheld from employee
paychecks beginning October 1, 2019. This new
law establishes a system for paid family leave of up
to 12 weeks to care for a family member and up to
20 weeks for your own illness and for all employees,
and will have a massive impact on contractor-based
Let us preface this by saying that we personally
believe that this law is, at its core, altruistic and written
with employees in mind. However, it will ultimately
fall on virtually all Massachusetts employers to
ensure they are meeting the law’s requirements, so
educating business owners is essential in the weeks
prior to October 1st.
Here’s what you need to know:
MGL c.175M establishes a system for paid family
leave of up to 12 weeks to care for a family member,
and up to 20 weeks for an employee’s own illness.
This new law applies to all businesses and employers
that employ 1 or more Massachusetts workers, with
So, who’s covered?
The law states that a covered individual is:
• An employee or a 1099 Contractor that is a sole
proprietor (if that contractor makes up more than
50% of the workforce);
• A self-employed individual who has elected
coverage AND reported earnings to the DOR; or
• A former employee who met the financial eligibility
requirements and all employment in MA at the time
of separation and has not been separated for more
than 26 weeks.
This means that companies who rely heavily on
contractors to fulfil their workload must offer paid
leave to those contractors (when applicable), and
depending on the number of contractors on their
payroll, they could be covering some of the cost.
As a Massachusetts employer, your responsibility for
making contributions under the PFML depends on
the makeup of your workforce. To make sure you’re
correctly assessed for contributions, it’s important
that you properly report the size and makeup of your
Massachusetts workforce to the Department of Family
and Medical Leave. Your total workforce includes:
• All Massachusetts W2 employees (full-time, parttime,
• All Massachusetts 1099-MISC contractors.
As an employer, you will be responsible for the
coverage of all W2 employees. However, 1099-MISC
contractors count toward your total number of
covered individuals only if they make up more than
50 percent of your total workforce (W2 employees
and 1099-MISC contractors combined). Remember,
a contractor is considered a 1099-MISC if you paid
them at least $600 in the tax year.
Who is paying the tax?
Employee Responsibility - Employees are required
to pay in up to 100% of their family leave (.13% of the
.75%) and up to 40% of the medical leave (.62% of the
Employer Responsibility - If you have 25 employees
or more, you will be required to pay in the additional