Although many in the business community saw the “Grand Bargain” (the name given to a legislative/gubernatorial deal to raise wages and mandate paid leave in Massachusetts) as troublesome, but palatable, it appears that the regulations to implement the law could be ‘the straw that breaks the camel’s back’! At the first of seven planned public hearings on regulations drafted by the new Department of Family and Medical Leave (created by the “Grand Bargain”), business leaders decried the inflexibility written into the regulations. Under the “grand bargain”, employers with 25 or more employees will be required to fund the family and medical leave program with a new payroll tax of 0.63% on the first $132,900 paid to each employee annually. That funding obligation begins July 1 of this year even though employees will be ineligible to access the $800 million program until July 1 of 2021. After that date, employees will be eligible for up to 12 weeks paid parental and family care leave and up to 20 weeks for personal medical complications. Furthermore, despite the fact that businesses with fewer than 25 employees are exempted from the funding requirement, they will still be required to provide regular information to the DFML. To add to the confusion, the new departments website advises that “employers and businesses with fewer than 25 workers in Massachusetts must remit contributions to the department on behalf of their workers but are not required to pay the employer share of the contribution for family and medical leave.” Clear as mud now, isn’t it??