Paid Family and Medical Leave exemption application process

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 obtain an exemption from making family or medical leave contributions to the Department of Family and Medical Leave.

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Applying for an exemption

Dec. 20 Deadline to file for private plan exemption for first quarter contributions

If you're interested in getting an exemption from contributing to family leave, medical leave, or both, you will need to submit an annual approved plan application to the Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML). The electronic approved plan application is available through MassTaxConnect.

The benefits provided by your approved plan must be greater than or equal to the benefits provided by the PFML law to be granted an exemption. 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 PFML law.

The deadline to file for a private plan exemption for first quarter contributions is Dec. 20, 2019.

The Department 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. Once you've received the notification, you can log into MassTaxConnect to review the decision.

  • If the exemption is approved, you'll receive a letter with instructions listing the steps you should take next. Self-insured plans will also need to provide a surety bond running to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • If the exemption is denied, you'll be notified why it was denied. If you disagree with the basis for denial, you may request a follow-up review on or after Oct. 1, 2019. 

If you're 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 rights and protections. 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 the PFML law

Additional Resources



DFML hours of operation: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., DOR hours of operation: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Last updated: June 14, 2019