Guide A guide to Paid Family and Medical Leave for Massachusetts workers

Beginning in January 2021, most Massachusetts workers will be eligible for paid family and medical leave under the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law. Learn more about what these new benefits mean to you and how to prepare for them.

Table of Contents

Key dates

Oct. 1, 2019

Employers will begin making payroll deductions to fund the employee share of contributions.

Your share of contributions as a worker is fixed. Some employers will also be required to pay contributions under the law, depending on the makeup and size of their workforce.

Jan. 1, 2021

Paid family leave benefits will be available to support workers who take leave in order to bond with a new child and to address needs relating to a family member who is a covered service member of the armed forces.

Paid medical leave benefits will be available to support workers who take leave as a result of personal serious health conditions.

July 1, 2021

Paid family leave benefits will be available for the care for any family member with a serious health condition.

What types of leave are covered?

Family leave

Up to 12 weeks of family leave may be taken to:

  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • Bond with a child within the first 12 months after its birth
  • Bond with a child within the first 12 months after adoption or foster care placement
  • Manage family affairs when a family member is on active duty in the armed forces

Medical leave

Up to 20 weeks of medical leave may be taken:

  • While you are unable to work due to your own serious health condition

Make sure you're eligible for benefits

All Massachusetts employees and many Massachusetts independent contractors will be covered by the PFML law and eligible for benefits.

It's best to check if you meet the eligibility requirements before applying for any type of leave benefits. There are both employment and earnings requirements you must meet, even if you're unemployed.

If your Massachusetts employer offers a private paid leave plan with benefits that match or exceed those in the state's PFML program, you will be covered by your employer's plan instead.

Even if you're covered by your employer's private plan, you'll still have the same anti-retaliation and other protections under the PFML law.

Key Actions for Make sure you're eligible for benefits

Maximum amount of leave available

Family leave

You may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave.

Medical leave

You may be eligible for up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave.

Total combined leave

You may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of combined paid family and medical leave.

Weekly benefits

Weekly benefit amounts are calculated as a percentage of your earnings. This means weekly benefits may be different for each individual. 

The maximum weekly benefit is $850 per week.

Contribution rates

PFML benefits will be funded by a payroll or earnings contribution on every dollar of wages or payment for services earned by a covered individual.

For every $100 you earn, a maximum of $0.38 will be deducted for the covered contribution share. This will consist of:

  • $0.13 to cover your family leave contribution
  • $0.25 to cover your medical leave contribution

The maximum amount of earnings subject to these contribution rates is $132,900 annually for each covered individual.

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