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This page, Your eligibility for paid family and medical leave (PFML), is offered by

Your eligibility for paid family and medical leave (PFML)

Learn if you are eligible for PFML benefits.

Table of Contents

General eligibility

Generally, PFML coverage is available to all W-2 workers who work in Massachusetts, whether full-time, part-time, or seasonal, as well as some 1099-MISC contractors. If you have questions about your PFML eligibility, ask your employer.

You're covered by the PFML law if:

  • You're an employee working for a Massachusetts business or a state agency

  • You’re a contractor who receives a 1099-MISC tax form from a business that issues 1099-MISC tax forms to more than 50% of its workforce

  • 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

  • You’re a former employee who has been unemployed for 26 weeks or fewer

Additional Resources

Earnings requirement

Additionally, you must meet the department’s financial eligibility requirements to be eligible, which is based on the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance’s Financial Eligibility Requirements1. In summary, the department uses your base period earnings to determine your average weekly wage (AWW).  The department then uses your AWW to calculate a weekly benefit amount pursuant to M.G.L. c. 175M, § 3. You satisfy the financial eligibility requirements if you earn enough to meet the minimum threshold (currently $5,400 in earnings and 30 times the benefit amount).

This is the basic formula-

If, during your base period, you have worked:

  • 1 quarter
    • AWW is calculated by dividing your Earnings in that quarter by 13
  • 2 quarters

    • AWW is calculated by dividing your Earnings in your highest earning quarter by 13

  • 3 quarters

    • AWW is calculated by dividing your Earnings in your 2 highest earning quarters by 26

  • 4 quarters

    • AWW is calculated by dividing your Earnings in your 2 highest earning quarters by 26

The Department has developed a calculator to assist with estimating your weekly benefit amount.

Financial eligibility is determined using all wages during your base period, even if you have multiple jobs or worked for more than one employer.  If you have more than one job and are approved for benefits, however, your actual benefit amount will be based on the wages you have received from the employer or employers from whom you are taking leave.

Employment excluded from Eligibility

Municipalities, districts, political subdivisions, housing authorities, regional school districts, and regional planning commissions are types of employers that are excluded from PFML eligibility, but may opt in through a vote of their governing body or committee. Charter schools are not considered municipality employment, and therefore are not excluded from PFML eligibility.

Additionally, 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 sales and delivery 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 administered by non-profit or public institutions

If your Massachusetts employer offers a private paid leave plan with benefits that match or exceed those in the state's PFML program, and they have been given an exemption, you will be covered by your employer's plan instead.

Ask your employer to find out if they are exempt from PFML, or are offering an exempted plan.

Opting in if you are self-employed

If you are a 1099-MISC worker for a business that does not cover contractors for PFML because 1099-MISC workers make up less than 50% of the business’s workforce, you can choose to opt-in to the PFML program through MassTaxConnect.

Your PFML enrollment will begin on the date you opt-in through MassTaxConnect. Once enrolled in the program, you'll be required to remain enrolled for at least 3 years. During this time, you'll be required to file quarterly earnings reports and submit the full quarterly contribution payments for both family and medical leave based on your earnings.

To be eligible for benefits, you will have to:

  • Have earned $5,400 during the last 4 completed calendar quarters, and at least 30 times more than how much you would be eligible to get each week from your Paid Family Medical Leave benefits

  • Pay the full 0.75% 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.

Contact

Phone

For questions about benefits and eligibility: (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, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

1 Financial Eligibility Test. A demonstration that, over the 12 months preceding an individual's application for benefits with the Department, the individual has received total wages as an employee or payments for service as a covered contract worker from Massachusetts employers or Massachusetts covered business entities that in the aggregate equal or exceed 30 times the individual's weekly benefit amount as determined under 458 CMR 2.12, and that in the aggregate are not less than the dollar amount calculated annually by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance pursuant to M.G.L. c. 151A, § 24(a). Wages received from multiple employers or covered business entities within the base period can be aggregated to determine financial eligibility for leave.

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