New Paid Family and Medical Leave Law
Last year the legislature passed the Paid Family Medical Leave Act (PFMLA), which will allow Massachusetts workers up to 26 weeks of paid family and/or medical leave per year. It is like the federal FMLA, except that (1) some of the timelines are more generous and, crucially, (2) the time off is not only protected, it is partially paid, without using your own accrued time. Our union, along with over 100 unions, community organizations, and faith groups within the Raise Up coalition, fought hard to get this benefit for all employees in Massachusetts.
New Payroll Taxes
The PFMLA requires the University to send payroll taxes to the State starting in October, to fund the PFML Trust Fund, so that it can provide paid benefits to employees starting in 2021. Employers are required to pay about half the payroll tax. The PFMLA allows, but does not require, employers to charge employees for the rest of the payroll tax. UMass intends to charge all employees for the amount that they are allowed to pass on.
Coalition of Unions
A coalition of unions from all campuses of the UMass system, including SHARE, have been at the bargaining table over the summer fighting for a fair deal for UMass union members.
Notification from UMass
Next week, UMass will send you a notice stating that you will have a new tax deducted from your check to help pay for the new PFML benefit. You will be asked to confirm receipt of the notice. Here’s what we are asking you to do in support of our push at the table for a fair deal:
When you receive the email notice, change the subject line to “Rejected by UMass Unions United” and forward the email to UMass President Meehan and UMMS Human Resources (EmployeeRelations@umassmed.edu). Please cc SHARE (email@example.com).
Print the notice, write “Rejected by UMass Unions United" next to your name and bring it either to Human Resources or to a SHARE Rep to deliver with the other notices.
UMass can make 100% of the required contribution. For members who already enjoy similar paid leave under their union contracts, the University will likely be able to receive reimbursement from the State for the benefits they're already required to pay. Additionally, the state has included a reserve in the budget to help fund the Trust contribution for State employees. We may end up bargaining about this issue in our next contract negotiations if this is not resolved.
Our coalition partners at the Medical School and at every UMass campus will be participating in this first action to send a message to President Meehan. Please stay alert for further action as bargaining over this issue continues.
For more information about the Paid Family Medical Leave: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-family-and-medical-leave.