Increase in Massachusetts UI and PFML Benefits

Date: October 06, 2021

The Office of Labor and Workforce Development released the newly adjusted state average weekly wage

Earlier this month, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development released the newly adjusted state average weekly wage, which impacts benefit for recipients of unemployment and paid family and medical leave. The state average weekly wage increased from $1,478 to $1,694.

 

Due to higher wages being paid throughout the pandemic, the state’s average weekly wage rose. This now means the maximum weekly benefit for unemployment will increase from $855 to $974 (plus $25 per dependent). The paid family and medical leave weekly benefit, also tied to the average weekly wage, will increase from a maximum of $850 per week to $1,084. 

 

NFIB has repeatedly pointed out to lawmakers Massachusetts’ highest in the nation unemployment benefit. We are working to ensure elected officials use federal money to shore-up the UI trust fund that now faces a $7 billion deficit. NFIB’s Massachusetts state director also serves on the UI Solvency Commission that will issue a report in December on the status of the UI trust fund. As many of the committee’s members are focused on raising the wage base from the current $15,000, NFIB is instead stressing the need to balance the side of the ledger that allows for generous worker benefits and lax eligibility requirements.

 

Increased UI benefits will mean higher labor costs for employers who are already struggling to bring workers back into the workforce and attempting to lead the state’s economic recovery. On a positive note, the .75% Paid Family and Medical Leave tax, that some businesses and workers pay, will be reduced to .68%.

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