The Conference offices in Massachusetts have received many inquiries about the new Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave Act. Here are the key things all churches need to know:
Churches are NOT automatically included under the FMLA, nor are churches required to participate. The definition of employment under this law specifically excludes work done for a religious organization.
However, churches will be able to opt in to the program if they choose. The Conference urges churches to consider this, as participation would provide an excellent benefit for all employees at no cost to the church.
We are told that instructions for opting in will be available at the Mass Tax Connect website after October 1, 2019.
There is no deadline for opting in.
Should an employer choose to opt in, the employer will not be required to begin withholding taxes until after they have opted in.
So, in summary, there is nothing for churches to do by the October 1st deadline. Churches should not begin withholdings as of that date. If they want to consider opting in, they should watch the FMLA website and/or the Conference website for procedural updates, or stop by the Church Finance Handbook table in the Marketplace at Annual Meeting in Worcester.