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Employers and employment excluded from Paid Family and Medical Leave

Some employers and types of employment are not covered by the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law. They are automatically excluded from making contributions unless they opt-in.

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Excluded employment

Excluded employers and employment types are automatically excluded from PFML, and do not need to apply for an exemption.

The same types of employment that are excluded under sections of the unemployment statute are also excluded from the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law, including:  

  • Services performed for a son, daughter, or spouse  
  • If under 18, services performed for one’s father or mother  
  • Services performed by inmates of penal institutions  
  • Independent contractors as defined by this three-part test 
  • Employment in the railroad industry  
  • Services provided by real estate brokers/salespeople and insurance agents/solicitors in commission only jobs 
  • Newspaper sales and delivery by persons under 18  
  • Employment by churches and certain religious organizations  
  • Services of work-study students, student nurses and interns, work trainee programs administered by non-profit or public institutions 
  • An elected official 
  •  A member of a legislative body 
  •  A member of the judiciary 
  •  A member of the National Guard or Air National Guard 
  • An employee serving on a temporary basis in case of fire, storm, snow, earthquake, flood, or similar emergency 
  • An employee serving in a position which, under or pursuant to the laws of the commonwealth or tribal law, is appointed to either a nontenured policymaker or advisor, or in a policymaking or advisory position the performance of the duties of which ordinarily does not require more than eight hours per week 
  • An election official or election workers if the amount of remuneration received by the individual during the calendar year for services as an election official or election worker is less than $1,000. 

Please review Section 6 of MGL c. 151A or examples of excluded employment at Section 2 of MGL c.151A.

Opting-in requirements for excluded employment

An employer whose workforce is excluded under the specific categories above may opt-in to PFML if they submit a notarized letter from an officer confirming that the employer’s governing body has elected PFML contributions. See detailed instructions below. An employer that opts-in must do so for all its employees. 

Municipalities, districts, political subdivisions or authorities

Municipalities are excluded from PFML law unless their governing body, like a city council or town meeting, votes to opt-in. City and town departments, like school departments or departments of public works, are part of the municipality. If your department or organization is separate from the municipality, it will have a different tax identification number. 

Housing authorities, regional school districts, and regional planning commissions are excluded from PFML law but may opt-in through a vote of their governing bodies, in accordance with Section 10 of M.G.L. 175M.   

Charter schools are not part of a municipality and are not excluded from PFML law, except for Horace Mann Charter School. Horace Mann Charter School employees are considered municipal employees.  

To opt-in as an excluded employer: 

  1. Governing body votes to opt-in under M.G.L. 157M Section 10 
  2. Person on file for the Department of Revenue (DOR) MassTaxConnect account informs DOR that the employer intends to opt-in 
  3. DOR provides information on documents required to file an opt-in request 
    1. Notice of Election (provided by DOR from DFML)
    2. Notarized letter from an officer confirming the governing body has elected PFML contributions 
  4. Employer logs into MassTaxConnect account and submits an e-message requesting to opt-in and attaches the 2 documents 
  5. E-message is sent to DFML, which reviews the request and either approves it or sends out a request for more information 
  6. If approved, the employer must register a new PFML account within DOR’s MassTaxConnect to send contributions 
  7. Employer also must create a DFML employer account and designate a leave administrator to review PFML applications 

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.