By Bob Katzen

The House and Senate approved and Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a bill that delays until October 1 the start of a payroll tax, that will be paid by workers, employers and the self-employed to fund paid family and medical leave benefits for Massachusetts workers. The 0.63 percent payroll tax was supposed to be effective July 1 to fund the estimated $1 billion paid family and medical leave program that was signed into law last year. Business and advocacy groups have raised concerns about their ability to prepare for the for the new tax by July 1.

A joint statement issued by Gov. Baker, House Speaker Bob DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka expressed their support for the delay. “To ensure businesses have adequate time to implement the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program, the House, Senate, and administration have agreed to adopt a three -month delay to the start of required contributions to the program,” read the statement. “We will also adopt technical changes to clarify program design. We look forward to the successful implementation of this program this fall.”.

The Paid Family and Medical Leave Program is overseen by the Department of Family and Medical Leave. According to the department’s website, the program “provides temporary income replacement to eligible workers who are welcoming a new child into their family, are struck by a serious illness or injury, need to take care of an ill or ailing relative and for certain military considerations.”

The website notes that beginning in January of 2021 most workers in Massachusetts will be eligible to get up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave.

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