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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 should 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.


The process for beginning payments can start 14 calendar days after a completed application has been approved. If your leave is scheduled to begin more than 14 calendar days after you receive an approval notice, payment will begin when your leave starts.

It can take 3-5 business days for a claimant to be established in the Commonwealth Office of the Comptroller’s payment system (MMARs). After you’ve been established in the Commonwealth Office of the Comptroller's system, please allow an additional 5 days to receive your first payment.

Additionally, there will be a 7 calendar day waiting period at the beginning of your leave during which benefits will not be paid. If your leave is on an intermittent or reduced schedule, the wait period will last 7 consecutive days - whether you are taking leave on those days or not. The waiting period applies to each separate paid leave application, except if a mother begins family leave to bond with her newborn child immediately after taking medical leave during her pregnancy or to recover from childbirth. In this case, the 7-day waiting period for the mother’s family leave would be waived.

Full timeline

Application Timeline




Application submitted by employee

15-30 minutes

Employer Response for Information after application is submitted by the employee

1-10 business days

You making sure your employer is aware of their role in the process will expedite processing.

Timeline for submitting an application is dependent on having your required information and documentation ready.

Successfully submitting means employee has submitted the application, including the appropriate ID Proofing document and supporting verification as required based on your leave type.


Reaching a decision

Stage Time

Review of documentation following receipt of Employer Response

7-14 calendar days

Make sure you have reviewed and submitted all of the required documentation for your leave.

The Department may reach out to you for additional information or clarification of evidence submitted.






Vendor established in MMARs

3-5 business days

Payment Received

5 business days

Delivery of physical checks is subject to delays outside of the Department’s control. Direct Deposit is the best method to ensure a timely payment process.

Timeline will vary in circumstances where application for benefits is filed prior to commencing leave.



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