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PFML: Transitioning from medical leave to family leave to bond with a child

If you are pregnant, you could qualify for both medical leave before or after the birth, and family leave to bond with a child, which is sometimes called maternity leave.

Table of Contents

Eligibility

You are eligible to take medical leave and family leave to bond with a child if all of the following apply:

  • You have a serious health condition related to pregnancy, prenatal or postnatal care, or recovery from childbirth (medical leave)
  • You have given birth, or are expecting to give birth (family leave)
  • 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

How it works

You can take medical leave for pregnancy, postnatal care, or recovery from childbirth. You and your health care provider need to fill out a Certification of your Serious Health Condition form. NOTE: It is up to your health care provider to decide how much time you will need for medical leave.

You can begin an application for medical leave online or through the Contact Center at (833) 344-7365.  Make sure to answer “Yes” to the question, “Is this related to pregnancy or recovery from childbirth?"

Once medical leave has been approved, call the Contact Center or go online to add an application for family leave to bond with a child to your medical leave. Do not submit a second application. 

If your baby has already been delivered, you can submit the proof of your child’s birth online at this time. If your baby has not been delivered yet, provide your estimated delivery date and provide proof of birth once the child has been born. Your requested leave dates will be will be updated to match the delivery date on your documentation.

It is easier to take your medical leave before your family leave as you won't have a second 7-day waiting period once you begin your leave to bond with your child.

You can take up to 26 weeks of combined family and medical leave per benefit year, with up to 20 weeks of medical leave, and up to 12 weeks of family leave.

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.

Some examples:

Michelle is pregnant and needs to go on bedrest for the 6 weeks before her due date. Her health care provider fills out the Certification of your Serious Health Condition form to cover her 6 weeks of medical leave for her prescribed bedrest, plus an additional 6 weeks of medical leave to recover from birth. As Michelle is nearing the end of her 12 weeks of medical leave, she calls the Contact Center at (833) 344-7365 to add an application for family leave to bond with a child. She is approved for 12 weeks of family leave benefits before returning to work.

Ty is pregnant, and is able to work throughout their pregnancy. After giving birth, Ty’s doctor thinks they need time to recover from birth, and fills out the Certification of your Serious Health Condition form to cover 8 weeks of medical leave to allow for post birth recovery. Ty applies online for medical leave and says that it is related to recovery from childbirth. Once the medical leave is approved, Ty logs back on to PFML application website and adds a family leave to bond with a child application. Ty is approved for family leave benefits, and takes the 8 more weeks of family leave before returning to work. Ty’s partner, James, applies for 12 weeks of family leave to bond with the child, and takes that leave once Ty has returned to work.

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.

Medical leave documents

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 

Proof of your child's birth

For a child’s birth, you will need to submit ONE of these documents:

  • A copy of the child's birth certificate
  • A statement from the child's health care provider with the child’s date of birth
  • A statement from the mother's health care provider with the child’s date of birth
  • A hospital statement of birth records

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 for medical leave 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

When filling out your application, make sure you answer “Yes” to the question, “Is this related to pregnancy or recovery from childbirth?”

You’ll also 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’ll 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, if you choose direct deposit for payment
  • The certification of your serious health condition form from your health care provider
  • 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.

Once your case has been approved, call the Contact Center at (833) 344-7365 to claim the family leave for bonding associated with your medical leave. This will ensure there is no disruption in your benefits payments and allow you to transition directly into family leave for bonding when your medical leave is complete. 

  • If your baby has already been delivered, you can submit the proof of your child’s birth online at this time. 
  • If your baby has not been delivered yet, provide your estimated delivery date and provide proof of birth once the child has been born. 

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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