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Paid family and medical leave (PFML) application approval timeline

Here's how the paid leave application and approval process works, and how long you can expect it to take.

Table of Contents

Applying for paid leave

If you are applying to take paid family or medical leave for a planned event, like a scheduled surgery, you are required to give your employer at least 30 days notice before beginning your application, and make an effort to schedule your leave for a time that will not disrupt your employer’s business. If you do not notify your employer before beginning your application, your leave might be delayed or denied.

If you are taking leave for an unexpected or unplanned life event, you should notify your employer as soon as is possible before beginning your application for paid leave. For such events, you can apply for retroactive paid leave benefits up to 90 calendar days after your leave began.

You may begin your application for paid leave up to 60 calendar days in advance of your leave’s anticipated start date. The Department cannot accept applications for paid leave with a start date more than 60 calendar days in the future.

Please gather any required documents before beginning your application. Depending on the type of leave you are requesting and the documents you have already prepared, filing your application may take 15 to 30 minutes.

Employer response

Within 5 business days after your application has been submitted, the Department will notify your employer and ask them to review it. Your employer will then have 10 business days to complete this review and provide the Department any additional information that might help inform their decision. If your employer does not complete their review, the Department will make a decision on your application using the information you provided.

Reaching a decision

The Department will reach a decision and inform you of that decision within 14 calendar days of receiving your completed application. You will have 10 calendar days to appeal the decision, if you wish to. Instructions on how to appeal the decision will be sent to you along with the decision.

It is possible that the Department will need more information from you or your employer in order to complete your application and make a decision. When the Department has enough information to consider your application complete, they will begin review and make a decision within 14 calendar days.


You can choose to receive approved paid family or medical leave benefits by direct deposit or by check. You can choose your payment preference and enter your payment information as part of your application either online or through the Contact Center.

Once your application is approved, you can expect weekly payments to begin 2-4 weeks after your leave begins.

If your leave has already begun, you can expect your first payment to arrive 2 weeks after it is approved.

After that, you will receive your payments every week.

When you begin your paid family or medical leave, there is a 7-day waiting period of seven (7) calendar days before benefit payments will start. You will not receive benefit payments during this waiting period. Also, these seven (7) days will count against your total available leave for the benefit year.  

If you have been approved for intermittent leave, the waiting period will be seven (7) consecutive calendar days after your leave begins, whether you take leave on those days or not. 

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.