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Applying for a private paid leave exemption

Some Massachusetts employers may be eligible for an exemption from making Paid Family and Medical Leave contributions. Learn how to apply for an exemption if your business qualifies.

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Standards for fully insured paid leave plans

Massachusetts employers that offer approved private plans with paid leave benefits that are equal to or more generous than those provided under the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program may be exempt from making family or medical leave contributions to the Department of Family and Medical Leave. Exemptions are only available to and intended for employers. Individuals cannot apply for an exemption from contributions deducted from their wages by their employer. 

There are two types of plans that can qualify for exemptions:  

  • A self-insured private plan funded by an employer (which may be administered by a third-party administrator)  

  • A purchased private plan offered by an insurance carrier licensed by the Division of Insurance (DOI)  

Additional Resources

Applying for a private plan exemption

If you are an employer and interested in obtaining an exemption from the requirements of remitting contributions for family leave, medical leave, or both, you must submit an application through MassTaxConnect and must be renewed annually. 

Certain employers are automatically excluded and do not need to apply for an exemption. See here for a partial list of employers who are automatically excluded. If you have questions about your contributions status, please contact the Department. 

In order to be granted an exemption, the benefits you provide must be greater than or equal to those provided under M.G.L c.175M (the paid leave law). This means your approved plan must meet all the minimum requirements and must not cost your covered individuals any more than they would be required to contribute to the state plan under the paid leave law.

Employers seeking Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) exemptions must submit separate applications for each entity that has its own Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and a Massachusetts workforce. 

The DFML will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis but applications must be approved in the quarter prior to the quarter in which they go into effect. 

Employers applying for an exemption will receive an email notification within 1-2 business days indicating that a determination has been made. After receiving the notification, employers can log in to MassTaxConnect to review the decision.

If approved, the employer will receive a letter with instructions. 

If the exemption is denied, you will be given the reason for the denial. You may request a follow-up review. 

If you are granted an exemption because your approved plan offers benefits that match or exceed those provided under the state's program, your covered individuals will still be entitled to the rights and protections provided under MGL c. 175M. This includes:

  • The right to an appeal if their application for benefits is denied

  • The right to job protection during any leave taken

  • Protections against retaliation from taking leave or exercising other rights under paid leave law

Additional Resources



For questions about benefits and eligibility: (833) 344-7365

Department of Family and Medical Leave - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

Fraud Reporting Hotline: (857) 366-7201

Department of Family and Medical Leave - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

For questions about contributions and exemptions: (617) 466-3950

Department of Revenue - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Last updated: June 14, 2019