Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) fact sheet

PFML is coming for Massachusetts workers. Find high-level answers to your questions on what it is, who it affects, when it's happening, and more here, as well as links to where to find more detailed answers. Talk with your employer if you have questions about your coverage and contributions.

Table of Contents

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

To know if you are covered, it's best to talk to your employer. If you are an employer, learn who is a covered individual and how to calculate your workforce and contributions.  

Additional Resources

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. 

Additional Resources

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. 

Additional Resources

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

Additional Resources

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

Additional Resources

How is PFML different 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 MA 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.

 

Additional Resources

What's happening when?

A timeline showing key dates in the PFML roll out. By Oct. 1, 2019, premium collections will begin. By Dec. 20, 2019, application deadline for first quarter exemptions due. By January 1, 2021, most benefits will become available to employees. By July 1, 2021, all remaining benefits will become available.

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