Who is eligible for PFML coverage?
There are 4 main factors to determine your PFML eligibility:
Your type of employment is not exempt under PFML law, and
Your employer doesn't have a private paid leave plan that has been approved by the Department of Family and Medial Leave because it provides benefits that are equal to or greater than the state's coverage, and
You need to meet the Department’s earnings requirements, and
You must work for a Massachusetts business or state agency
Types of employment not covered by PFML
Municipalities, districts, political subdivisions, housing authorities, regional school districts, and regional planning commissions are types of employers that are not eligible for PFML coverage but may opt in through a vote of their governing body or committee.
Charter schools are covered by PFML because they are not considered municipality employment.
Certain types of work are automatically excluded from PFML, including:
Work performed for a son, daughter, or spouse
If under 18, work performed for one’s father or mother
Work performed by inmates of penal institutions
Independent contractors as defined by this three-part test
Employment in the railroad industry
Work provided by real estate brokers/salespeople and insurance agents/solicitors in commission-only jobs
Newspaper delivery and sales by persons under 18
Employment by churches and certain religious organizations
Work done by work-study students, student nurses and interns, or those in work trainee programs in non-profit or public institutions
Participating in Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave
Each employer can decide whether to participate in PFML or provide equal or better coverage through a private leave plan. Ask you employer if they are participating in PFML or an approved private plan.
If you own a business and pay yourself through a W-2, you are considered an employee of the business and a part of the PFML program.
In addition, you must meet the Department’s financial eligibility earnings requirements to be eligible.
The Department uses your base period earnings to determine your individual average weekly wage (IAWW). A base period is the last 4 quarters you completed and were paid prior to the start of your benefit year. The Department then uses your IAWW to calculate a weekly benefit amount. You meet the earnings requirement if you earn enough to meet the threshold (currently at least $5,700 in earnings and 30 times the PFML benefit amount). Threshold amounts are updated annually.
If you want more information on earnings requirement calculations, go to M.G.L. c. 175M, § 3.
To check if you’re eligible, the Department uses all of your earnings from all the jobs and employers you have during your base period. If you have more than one job and are approved for benefits, your benefit amount will be based on the earnings you have received from the employer or employers you are taking leave from.
The Department provides a calculator to help you estimate your IAWW and your weekly benefit amount. The calculator is provided for estimation purposes only and is not a guarantee of weekly benefits.
Working for a Massachusetts business or state agency
You're eligible for PFML coverage if you are:
A full-time, part-time, or seasonal employee in Massachusetts
A 1099-MISC contractor who works for a business that issues 1099-MISC tax forms to more than 50% of its employees
Unemployed for 26 weeks or fewer
Opting in if you are self-employed
If you are self-employed, you can sign up for the PFML program through MassTaxConnect.
Your PFML enrollment will begin on the date you opt in through MassTaxConnect. After you enroll in the program, you'll be required to stay enrolled for at least 3 years. During this time, you'll have to file quarterly earnings reports and make the full quarterly contribution payments for both family and medical leave based on your earnings.
To be eligible for benefits, you will have to:
You must have earned $5,700 during the last 4 completed calendar quarters, and at least 30 times more than your PFML benefit amount
Pay the contribution rate for both family and medical leave for at least 2 of your last 4 completed calendar quarters before claiming benefits. This rate adjusts annually.
If you own a business and pay yourself through a W-2, you don’t need to opt in because you are considered an employee of the business and will already be a part of the PFML program.
Department of Family and Medical Leave - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Department of Family and Medical Leave - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m - 5 p.m.
Department of Revenue - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.