In 2018, Massachusetts passed a landmark bill requiring all employers in the state to provide workers with paid family and medical leave (PFML), giving Massachusetts one of the most generous paid family and medical leave programs in the country. At the time of the legislature, the state outlined a three-year approach, with deadlines for employer and employee contributions into the Family and Employment Security Trust Fund, through which the program will be funded.
Now, as of January 1, 2021, most of these benefits are now available to Massachusetts workers, with remaining benefits becoming available on July 1, 2021.
Benefits available January 1, 2021:
- Paid medical leave to manage your own serious health condition
- Paid family leave to manage family affairs while a family member is on active duty overseas
- Paid family leave to care for a family member who is a covered Service Member
- Paid family leave to bond with a child newly born, adopted, or placed in foster care
Benefits available July 1, 2021:
- Paid family leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition
The Application Process
For eligibility requirements or to apply online for PFML benefits, employees can visit the PFML guideon the Massachusetts state website. You may begin your application for paid leave up to 60 calendar days in advance of your leave’s anticipated start date. If you are taking leave for an unexpected or unplanned life event, you can apply for retroactive paid leave benefits up to 90 calendar days after your leave began.
Within 5 days of your application submission, your employer will be notified, and asked to review your application within 10 business days, as well as provide any additional information that may help inform the Department of Family and Medical Leave’s decision. The Department will reach a decision and inform you of that decision within 14 calendar days of receiving your completed application. You will then have 10 days to appeal the decision if you so choose. PFML payments may begin 14 calendar days after a completed application has been approved, or on your leave start date, if that your leave is scheduled for a future date. Additionally, there is a 7 calendar day waiting period at the beginning of your leave during which benefits will not be paid.
There is also a PFML guide for employers, which outlines the obligations of a Massachusetts employer, including contribution and reporting requirements.
If you have questions about PFML and how it may impact you or your business, leave a comment below, or feel free to contact me directly, I’m happy to help!