The Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has implemented a couple of changes that Bay State employers need to be aware of. Effective January 1, 2022, the DFML will increase the average weekly wage and increase the maximum benefit for covered leave. At the same time, the Department also announced a decrease in the contribution rate from employee wages that employers must withhold. Beginning at the New Year, the average weekly wage to calculate an employee’s weekly benefit amount will increase to $1,964.24. Further, the total PFML benefit will also increase at that time from the current $850 maximum to $1,084.31. And also effective on January 1, the new contribution rate on eligible employees will be .68%. And finally, Governor Charlie Baker last week also extended the state COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Law, set to expire last Thursday, September 30, 2021. The law, which created a new sick leave entitlement for employees who are, or whose family members are, affected by COVID-19, also established a $75 million fund for certain employers to seek reimbursement for paid leave provided to employees. With the Governor signing the extension, the program is set to expire on April 1, 2022.