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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 11: Private plans

Section 11. (a)(1) Employers may apply to the department of family and medical leave for approval to meet their obligations under this chapter through a private plan. In order to be approved as meeting an employer's obligations under this chapter, a private plan must confer all of the same rights, protections and benefits provided to employees under this chapter, including but not limited to: (i) providing family leave to a covered individual for the reasons set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) and subsection (b) of section 2 for the maximum number of weeks required in paragraph (1) of subsection (c) of section 2, in a benefit year; (ii) providing medical leave to a covered individual for the reasons defined in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of section 2 for the maximum number of weeks required in paragraph (1) of subsection (c) of section 2, in a benefit year; (iii) allowing covered individuals to take, in the aggregate, the maximum number of weeks of family and medical leave in a benefit year as required by paragraph (1) of subsection (c) of section 2; (iv) allowing family leave to be taken for all purposes specified in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) and subsection (b) of section 2; (v) allowing family leave under paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of section 2 to be taken to care for any family member; (vi) allowing medical leave to be taken by a covered individual with any serious health condition; (vii) providing a wage replacement rate during all family and medical leave of at least the amount required by paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of section 3; (viii) providing a maximum weekly benefit during all family and medical leave of at least the amount specified in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of section 3; (ix) allowing family or medical leave to be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule as authorized by paragraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of section 2; (x) imposing no additional conditions or restriction on the use of family or medical leave beyond those explicitly authorized by this chapter or regulations issued pursuant to this chapter; (xi) allowing any employee covered under the private plan who is eligible to take family or medical leave under this chapter to take family or medical leave under the private plan; and (xii) providing that the cost to employees covered by a private plan shall not be greater than the cost charged to employees under the state program.

(2) In order to be approved as meeting an employer's obligations under this chapter, a private plan must also comply with the following provisions: (i) if the private plan is in the form of self-insurance, the employer must furnish a bond running to the commonwealth, with some surety company authorized to transact business in the commonwealth as surety, in such form as may be approved by the department and in such amount as may be required by the department; (ii) the plan must provide for all eligible employees throughout their period of employment; and (iii) if the plan provides for insurance, the forms of the policy must be issued by an approved insurer.

(b) An employer may provide both family and medical leave coverage through an approved private plan or may provide medical leave coverage using an approved private plan and provide family leave coverage using the public plan or vice versa.

(c) The department may withdraw approval for a private plan granted under subsection (a) when terms or conditions of the plan have been violated. Causes for plan termination shall include, but not be limited to the following: (i) failure to pay benefits; (ii) failure to pay benefits timely and in a manner consistent with the public plan; (iii) failure to maintain an adequate security deposit; (iv) misuse of private plan trust funds; (v) failure to submit reports as required by regulations promulgated by the department; or (vi) failure to comply with this chapter or the regulations promulgated hereunder or both.

(d) An employee covered by a private plan approved under this section shall retain all applicable rights under subsections (e) and (f) of section 2 and under section 9.

(e) A denial of family or medical leave benefits by a private plan shall be subject to appeal before the department and district court as provided by subsection (d) of section 8.