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How other leave and benefits can affect your Paid Family and Medical Leave

Benefits from other government or employer private leave programs may reduce your paid leave benefit amount and the total amount of leave you are eligible to take.

Talk to your employer directly about questions regarding any private benefit plans they offer. 

For specific programs and scenarios, see below.

Table of Contents

Overview

When applying for PFML, you need to report any other instances of paid and unpaid leave (for any qualifying reason) that you have taken in the 12 months before the start of your current leave. Other types of leave include federal programs like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and independent leave offered by your employer. Benefits from these leave programs may reduce your paid leave benefit amount and/or the total amount of leave you’re eligible to take.

Amount of leave you’re eligible to take

Most Massachusetts employees are eligible for up to 26 weeks of combined family and medical leave per benefit year. These 26 weeks may include:

  • Up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave to manage a personal serious health condition

  • Up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a family member or to bond with a child

  • Up to 26 weeks of paid family leave to care for a family member who is a member of the armed forces

You can take more than one kind of Family and Medical Leave in a benefit year, but the maximum amount of leave you can take in a benefit year is 26 weeks.

For example:

Casey had to get knee surgery so they took 20 weeks of medical leave in January. They are due to have a baby in November. Because this falls within the same benefit year, they have 6 weeks of family leave left in their benefit year to bond with their baby.

Reductions to your benefit payments

When you submit your application, any reductions to your weekly benefit amount will be
automatically calculated based on the information DFML receives from you and your employer during the review process.

In addition, reductions can still occur after your leave is approved if you didn’t accurately report other leave or benefits or you are receiving payments/time off from other programs at the same time as PFML.

See below for how specific programs or scenarios affect your total leave allotment or payments.

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment benefits you get during your leave will reduce your paid leave benefit amount. Unemployment benefits you got before your leave started won’t affect your paid leave benefits. 

Worker’s compensation

Workers’ compensation benefits will reduce your paid leave benefit amount. However, if you have a permanent partial disability that happened prior to your PFML application, you may be able to receive both workers’ compensation and paid leave benefits at the same time.

Social Security programs

You may be eligible to take paid leave if you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). You must report this income when you apply for paid leave, and it may reduce your benefit amount.

Temporary disability or paid family and medical leave benefits through your employer

You can receive payments from some short-term or long-term disability or paid leave policies through your employer at the same time you receive Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) benefits. Your PFML benefits will only be reduced if the total you receive from both payments is greater than your average weekly wage.

Paid time off through your employer

Most employers offer paid time off (PTO), also referred to as accrued paid leave. This includes vacation days, sick days, and personal time. You can use PTO during your waiting week or to supplement the days you receive PFML benefits. Here is what that means during your PFML leave:

At the beginning of your paid leave from PFML

When your PFML leave begins, there is a 7-day waiting period before PFML payments start. You will be on job-protected leave, but you will not receive PFML benefit payments. You can use employer PTO during this waiting period, and it will not affect your PFML benefits. This can be helpful if you want to avoid an unpaid week.

For example:

Jamie is taking 10 weeks of medical leave to recover from surgery. Under PFML, the first week is unpaid so they are eligible to receive 9 weeks of PFML payments. If Jamie chooses to use their paid time off during the 7-day waiting period, it will not affect the total PFML payments they receive.

During your paid leave from PFML

If you apply for PFML benefits on or after November 1, 2023, you will be allowed to supplement your PFML benefit with your accrued PTO while on PFML.

Topping off allows you to supplement your weekly PFML benefit with your accrued PTO, up to your Individual Average Weekly Wage (IAWW). Example:  An employee’s IAWW = $2,000 and they have an approved PFML application that pays $1,100 per week. The employee may top off that amount with PTO up to $900 per week, if available. The combined weekly sum of PFML benefits and employer provided paid leave benefits cannot exceed your IAWW. 

 

Additional Resources

Holidays

Holiday pay is the equivalent to other forms of PTO.

Bonuses

Income received through a bonus, like a holiday bonus or an annual sum paid out at the end of the year, will not cause a reduction in your benefits for the week in which it is paid. You should not report bonuses to DFML in your application or when reporting other income received during your leave.

Commissions

Employers and employees should not report commissions to DFML when reporting other income received during a leave. Generally, commissions that are paid out when an employee is receiving PFML benefits will not cause a reduction in PFML benefits for the week in which it is paid. 

There are two main exceptions to this rule:

  • “Draws” on commissions: A “draw” is a weekly stipend that counts against commissions earned. Since a draw is similar to a salary, it is in essence “regular pay.” Employees should not receive their regular draw and full PFML benefits at the same time.
  • Commissions with a quick turnaround: Likewise, if an employee works while on leave and earns commissions because of that work (for instance, a furniture salesperson earns 5% commission on sales they make each day) then those commissions would be ‘regular pay’ and should not be received at the same time as PFML benefits. 

When school is not in session for educators and teachers

PFML benefits will not be paid when school is not in session. If the planned leave is scheduled during a school break, it will not count against the teacher’s or educator’s total weeks of leave.

Educators and teachers will need to report this as part of their application and when discussing their leave schedule with their employer.

Contact for How other leave and benefits can affect your Paid Family and Medical Leave

Phone

Get answers to your questions in English, Español, and Português. Translation services for up to 240+ languages are also available. Call Department of Family and Medical Leave, Get answers to your questions in English, Español, and Português. Translation services for up to 240+ languages are also available. at (833) 344-7365

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

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

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

Last updated: March 21, 2022

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