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PFML: About leave for family members of active service members

There are two types of family leave available if you have a family member who is, was, or will be deployed.

Table of Contents

Eligibility

You are eligible to take military-related leave if all of the following apply:

  • You have a family member with a serious health condition who is a current member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves or you need to manage the needs of a family member who is deployed or about to be 
  • You work in Massachusetts for a Massachusetts business or state agency and your employer is participating in the program
  • You meet the earnings requirement

If you’re self-employed, you may opt-in through MassTaxConnect.

Additional Resources

Types of leave

Most Massachusetts employees are eligible for up to 26 weeks of combined family and medical leave per benefit year.  

There are 2 types of family leave if you have a family member who is, was, or will be deployed: 

  • Up to 26 weeks of family leave per benefit year to care for a family member with a serious health condition who is a current member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves.
  • Up to 12 weeks per benefit year to manage any needs that take place immediately after a family member is deployed or has been notified of an upcoming deployment

A benefit year is 52 weeks starting on the Sunday prior to the first day of paid leave through any leave program. You can take more than one kind of leave in a benefit year, but the maximum amount of paid leave you can take in a benefit year is 26 weeks.

Family leave to care for an active service member

You can take family leave to care for a family member who is a current member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, who is:

  • Undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious health condition that was received or aggravated while they were deployed
  • In outpatient status for a serious health condition that was received or aggravated while they were deployed
  • On the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness that happened while deployed
  • On the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the member's active duty, and was aggravated by service while deployed

​​​​Family leave to manage family affairs for an active service member

You can take family leave to manage any needs that take place immediately after a family member is deployed or has been notified of an upcoming deployment. These needs may include:

  • Caring for a deployed family member’s child or other family member immediately before their deployment
  • Making financial or legal arrangements for deployed family member
  • Attending counseling
  • Attending military events or ceremonies
  • Spending time with a deployed family member during a rest or recuperation period
  • Spending time with a family member when they return from deployment
  • Making necessary arrangements following the death of a family member who had been deployed

Different ways you can take your leave

You can schedule your leave 3 different ways.

  • Continuous leave: A single time period of consecutive, uninterrupted days 
  • Reduced leave: A consistent but reduced schedule for multiple weeks 
  • Intermittent leave: Multiple episodes of time off, which may be irregular or unexpected

Additional Resources

Required documents

Proof of identity

When applying for paid leave, you’ll be asked to provide proof of your identity to double-check that you are eligible, and to make sure that we send benefits to the right person.

The easiest way to do this will be to provide a color copy of your Massachusetts driver’s license or ID. If you don’t have a Massachusetts driver’s license or ID, that’s OK. You can provide color copies of other documents to verify your identity.

Family leave to care for an active service member documents

You have to confirm the service member’s serious health condition. To do this, the service member’s health care provider needs to fill out the Certification of your Family’s Member’s Serious Health Condition form including:

  • Attestation by the service member’s health care provider that the health condition is connected to the service member’s military service 
  • The date on which the service member’s serious health condition began 
  • That you, the employee, are needed to care for the service member and what kinds of care might be needed 
  • Information about how often and how long the service member needs you to care for them 

Family leave to manage family affairs for an active service member documents

When applying to manage family affairs for a service member who has been or is being deployed, you should include copies of documents that prove the following:

  • Your family relationship with the service member
  • The name and address of the service member
  • Information proving the identity of the service member

And a copy of ONE of the following certification documents:

  • A copy of the family member’s active duty orders
  • A letter of Impending activation from the family member’s commanding officer
  • An FMLA WH-384 form

Additional Resources

How to apply

Notify your employer

Begin by speaking with your employer about when you need to take leave. Try to provide at least 30 days notice before your official start date, if possible.

When you’re ready to apply for military-related family leave, call PFML’s Contact Center at (833) 344-7365 to begin your application. You can’t apply online.

A Contact Center Agent will guide you through the application. You can make the process quicker by gathering your required documents before calling the Contact Center.

Collect information about your leave

You’ll be asked for:

  • The reason why you are taking leave
  • The date you notified your employer that you need to take leave
  • The date when you are planning to take leave, or when your leave started

Gather documents and personal information

  • Proof of ID, such as a driver’s license or state ID
  • Your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Your employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Your bank account information, including your bank's routing number
  • Your family relationship with the service member
  • The name and address of the service member
  • Information about employer-sponsored benefits, other leave you’ve taken in the past 12 months, and any other sources of income. Other leave and benefits may reduce the amount of benefits you receive during your paid leave.

Contact

Phone

Get answers to your questions in English, Español, and Português. Translation services for up to 240+ languages are also available. (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.

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