Log in links for this page

PFML: About medical leave to manage your own serious health condition

Medical leave provides up to 20 weeks in a benefit year of paid leave when you can’t do your job due to a serious health condition.

Table of Contents


You are eligible to take medical leave if all of the following apply:

  • You need to take time off for a serious health condition, as certified by a health care provider
  • 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

What is a serious health condition?

A serious health condition is a physical or mental condition that prevents you from doing your job for more than 3 consecutive days, and requires ONE of the following:

  • Overnight stay in a medical facility 
  • 2 or more treatments by a health care provider within 30 days of whatever prevented you from doing your job
  • At least 1 treatment by a health care provider within 30 days of whatever prevented you from doing your job, with plans for continued treatment, including prescriptions

Serious health conditions can include:

  • Chronic conditions, like asthma or diabetes, that stop you from working periodically and require going to the doctor more than twice a year
  • Permanent or long-term conditions, like Alzheimer's disease, stroke, or terminal cancer, that will need ongoing attention but will not necessarily require active treatment by a certified health care provider
  • Conditions requiring multiple treatments, like chemotherapy, kidney dialysis, or physical therapy
  • Conditions due to pregnancy or post-birth recovery that prevent you from working, as certified by a health care provider
  • Complications related to a diagnosis of COVID-19 that prevent you from working, as certified by a health care provider
  • Substance use disorder may be considered a serious condition if you are receiving treatment from a health care provider

Cosmetic surgery is not considered a serious condition and is not covered by family or medical leave, except when inpatient care is required or complications develop.

Different ways you can take your leave

You can take 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 medical 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.

Certification of your serious health condition form

If you are taking medical leave, you and your health care provider must fill out a Certification of your Serious Health Condition form with the following:

  • A statement that you have a serious health condition
  •  A certification that you can’t work due to the serious health condition
  • The probable duration of your serious health condition
  • The date on which your serious health condition started

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.

Then, you can create an account on paidleave.mass.gov and apply online. If you’re self-employed or unemployed, call PFML’s Contact Center at (833) 344-7365 to begin your application.

Collect information about your leave

While filling out your application, 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. You can provide a copy of this document online or through the mail.
  • 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
  • Information from your health care provider about your serious medical condition
  • 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 your receive during your paid leave.

Additional Resources



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.

Help Us Improve Mass.gov with your feedback