As a result of the new Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in 2018 the Commonwealth will begin taking deductions from your paycheck beginning on October 1, 2019. The deductions will be used to fund this paid leave program.
A notice from your college or university will be coming to you in early September, but we feel the need to notify you now and to inform you of the steps the three unions have been taking to date.
The law requires employers in Massachusetts with 25 or more employees to contribute to a statewide trust fund an amount equal to 0.75% of each employee’s pay. The 0.75% is split into two categories: a Family Leave contribution (0.13%) and a Medical Leave contribution (0.62%).
The law allows – but does not compel – employers to deduct from employees’ pay up to 40% of the cost of the Medical Leave contribution and up to 100% of the cost of the Family Leave contribution. This means that employers – including our employer, the Board of Higher Education – can institute a payroll tax of up to 0.368%. The Board of Higher Education has taken the position that they will require all of our members to pay the maximum amount of 0.368%.
The three unions have been bargaining in coalition with the BHE since June 12, 2019 in an effort to reduce or eliminate the cost to our members. After three sessions with management, we have been unsuccessful in convincing them of the value of not imposing the maximum allowable tax on our members, particularly in light of the 2% increases we received as a result of the BHE’s/governor’s decision that it was the best the Commonwealth could do, despite two consecutive years of billion dollar-plus surpluses.
We will continue to bargain with management on the impact of the new law.
Please keep in mind that the APA and MSCA day contracts expire on June 30, 2020; the MCCC continuing education contract expires on August 31, 2020 and the MSCA graduate and continuing education contract expire on December 31, 2020. The new MCCC day contract is yet to be funded. Your unions will be calling on you to help us convince the BHE that taxing us at the highest possible level – and wiping out nearly a sixth of this year’s salary increase – is not the way to go.