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Partner Nan O’Neill of Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Introduced the Educational Session Conducted by the Department of Family and Medical Leave

For Massachusetts employers, the South Shore Chamber of Commerce Human Resources Advisory Group and Government Affairs Committee held a Paid Family and Medical Leave law session conducted by the Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”). The session was led by Mike Doheny, Undersecretary of Department of Labor and Workforce Development and General Counsel to the Secretary of Labor, Greg Norfleet, Deputy Director of Operations, and Mary Tibma, Manager of Stakeholder Engagement.  Also in attendance was Bob Foley, Chief Operating Officer for Tax Administration for the MA Department of Revenue.

The Educational Session took place on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at the Doubletree Inn in Rockland, MA. Nan O’ Neill, Partner with Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, introduced the speakers as well as assisted with organizing the event through her position on the Human Resources Advisory Group.

The DFML presentation focused on counting the workforce with particular emphasis on counting 1099-MISC contract workers and employment that is performed both inside and outside of Massachusetts.

With respect to 1099-MISC contract workers, the DFML emphasized that employers must report payments for all of their contract workers even if they comprise 50% or less of the workforce.  The purpose of this reporting is intended to assist with auditing and program integrity.  The DFML also stated that even though employers are not required to notify contract workers of their rights under the PFML when they comprise 50% or less of the workforce, the DFML would like to see such notification so that such workers can evaluate whether they want to elect coverage on their own.

Regarding employment performed both inside and outside of Massachusetts, the DFML outlined the 3 factors to consider, i.e. (1) location of base of operations; (2) origin of direction and control; and (3) residence of worker.

The DFML also indicated that with respect to private plan exemptions, while there are no insured private plans available yet, it is evaluating whether insurers can develop a plan, apply for an exemption, and then market it as a DFML-approved private plan.  The DFML is also working with the MA Department of Insurance to develop a sample self-insured plan.

The DFML advised that its website will continue to be updated.  Accordingly, employers should routinely monitor the website for up-to-date compliance information.

For questions about these issues, please contact Attorney Nan O’Neill or the attorney assigned to your account.

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In addition to issuing guidance on OSHA and COVID-19, which we covered in our Labor & Employment Alert issued on March 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor also issued Questions and Answers on COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This edition of the Client Alert will highlight the Questions and Answers provided by the DOL regarding the FLSA.

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