What is PFML?
PFML stands for Paid Family Medical Leave. It's a state-offered benefit for anyone who works in Massachusetts and is eligible to take up to 26 weeks of paid leave for medical or family reasons. PFML is funded through a Massachusetts tax, and is separate from both the federally mandated benefits offered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and from leave benefits that may be offered by your employer.
You can read the full text of the law for more details.
Who's covered by PFML?
PFML is available to covered individuals who work in Massachusetts. Covered individuals include:
- W-2 workers who work in Massachusetts, whether they are full-time, part-time, or seasonal
- Self-employed individuals
- 1099-MISC workers who work in Massachusetts, do not qualify as independent contractors, and who make up more than 50% of their employer's workforce
How does PFML work and how much does it cost?
PFML is a tax of no greater than 0.75% of your eligible wages paid by you and, potentially, your employer. The amount will vary depending on how much is being contributed by each party.
The maximum amount that could come out of your paycheck is $0.38 per $100.00.
Can I opt out?
If you are a covered individual, you cannot opt out.
If you are self-employed, you are not required to contribute, but you can choose to opt-in.
If you are an employer, you can apply for an exemption from collecting, remitting, and paying PFML contributions. However, your plan must have benefits greater than or equal to the benefits provided by the PFML law, as well as the same rights and protections.
Certain employers are not required to contribute to PFML, but can choose to opt-in.
When can I use PFML?
PFML benefits will become available on January 1, 2021.
Paid family leave may be taken to:
- Care for a sick family member
- Bond with a newborn child
- Bond with a child after adoption or foster care placement
- Manage family affairs when a family member is on active duty in the armed forces
Paid medical leave may be taken to:
- Manage a personal serious injury or illness
What do I need to do to?
If you're a worker, talk to your employer to find out if you are covered. If you are, the tax went into effect on October 1st, 2019.
If you are self-employed, you should learn about your options and decide if you want to opt into PFML.
If you're an employer, determine what your contributions will be, what kind of reporting you'll need to do, and how to do these things, as well as the other requirements and preparations you need to make.
How is PFML different than FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act)?
The FMLA is a federal law that provides unpaid, job-protected leave to certain employees. FMLA is available for the employee to use for themselves or when caring for a parent, child or spouse with a serious health condition and is only a requirement for employers with 50 or more employees
PFML is a Massachusetts law that applies to all Massachusetts employers regardless of size and provides paid, job-protected leave to eligible workers for similar reasons. Other differences include a broader definition of family, waiting periods for eligibility, and size of the employers that are required to participate. Read more about what PFML can be used for.
If possible, both leaves will run at the same time. Read more about the differences in the two laws.