Massachusetts Paid Family And Medical Leave (PFML)

MA PFML Resource Center

The Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave PFML program began providing benefits on January 1, 2021. MA PFML provides eligible employees with leave benefits for certain family and medical reasons, such as the birth, adoption or foster care of a child within the first year, the care of a relative with a serious health condition, to manage the household while a related active duty military member is deployed, or the employee's own serious condition.

The program is funded through employer and employee contributions. The state sets the contribution rate and employer and employee shared percentages annually. Employers with fewer than 25 employees in MA are not required to contribute but must deduct and remit employee contributions. Employers with 25 or more employees in MA are required to deduct and remit employer and employee contributions. For 2024, the total rate for large employers is 0.88% shared between the employer and employee. An employee cannot be required to contribute more than they would be required to contribute under the state plan.

Eligible employees are eligible for up to 20 weeks of leave, up to 12 weeks for paid leave (including active duty military exigency), or up to 26 weeks to care for a family member with a serious health condition who is a current member of the Armed Forces. Eligible employees combined maximum PFML is 26 weeks per benefit year.
Eligible employees are eligible to receive a percentage of their individual average weekly wage based on the state’s average weekly wage for the benefit year. The maximum weekly benefit amount for 2024 is $1,149.90. The benefit maximum is set annually.

We can help you with information and solutions for the MA PFML market.

Massachusetts PFML

What Employers Need to Know

PFML is underwritten and paid by the state of Massachusetts. But employers have the option of seeking a privatized plan, instead.

By law, private PFML plans must offer payouts the same or better than the state plan, with premiums equal to or lower than state premiums. Privatized plans may offer faster underwriting, better service, increased benefits, and lower premiums.

PFML in Massachusetts is a stand-alone benefit. But employers may be able to save money by bundling it with ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and group life.

If you want to write PFML without bundling other benefits, though, your choice in carriers may be limited. DBL Center can write PFML independent of other lines, making it easy and convenient to privatize family and medical leave in Massachusetts.

We are here to help brokers and employers, alike, privatize PFML through our preferred carriers. You will benefit from our white-glove service, fast and flexible payouts, and potential discounts.

Brokers writing PFML will gain the advantage of our Broker Dashboard app, which allows them to track commissions, renewals, and cancellations at a glance. The Broker Dashboard enables brokers to retain customers more easily and, as a result, keep more of what they earn for increased commissions and incremental growth.

Implications Of PFML

A generous family leave policy along with ancillary benefits can even reduce employee stress, which has been shown to improve employee engagement.

The MA PFML act carries significant socio-economic weight and speaks to national trends in supporting “sandwich generation” workers, who may be caring for both young children and aging parents. The legislation seeks to address gaps in federal support of working parents. As with New York and Connecticut laws, the Massachusetts law also provides support for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their family.

Massachusetts PFML gives employers the means to provide affordable benefits to new parents, workers caring for ill or aging family members, and military spouses. It also provides paid leave to those who require short-term disability for their own medical conditions.

Offering these benefits in conjunction with a robust ancillary benefits package that includes dental, vision, and group health can help employers attract top talent across the state and retain quality employees in a competitive environment. Multi-line discounts by bundling ancillary benefits with statutory PFML benefits can also save employers money.

PFML Eligibility Requirements

MA PFML applies to individuals who need time off:

  • Due to a serious health condition
  • To care for a newborn, newly adopted or new foster child within the first year of the event
  • To manage needs when an immediate family member has an upcoming deployment
  • To care for a family member of any age with a serious health condition

The amount of paid time off varies from 12 weeks to care for a family member with a serious health condition up to 26 weeks per benefit year to care for a family member who is a covered service member with a serious health condition.

Additional PFML Eligibility Requirements

Workers quality for benefits under MA PFML if:

  • They are W-2 employees of a Massachusetts entity
  • They live in Massachusetts and are 1099 independent contractors for a Massachusetts entity with a workforce made up of more than 50% independent contractors
  • They are self-employed, live in Massachusetts, and opt in for benefits

Maximum paid family and medical leave Massachusetts

The chart below shows the maximum benefits Massachusetts workers can take under the policy, with an aggregate maximum of 26 weeks in one benefit year.

Reason for PFML Claim Maximum Leave Time
Serious health condition 20 weeks
New birth, adoption, or fostering of a child 12 weeks
Caring for a family member with serious health condition 12 weeks*
Qualifying event related to deployment of family member in the military 12 weeks
Caring for a family member who is a covered member of the military with a serious health condition 26 weeks

Benefits go into effect on January 1, 2021.

*Benefits available to take time off to care for a family member with a serious health condition go into effect July 1, 2021.

Job Protection

Under the MA PFML

The law also provides job protection for employees, but not independent contractors. Under the law, an employee must be restored to their previous or an equal position, with the same

  • Status
  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • Length-of-service credit
  • Seniority as of date-of-leave

These protections also exist on a federal level under the family medical leave act. But it’s important to note that, unlike the Massachusetts family leave act, federal PFML is not a paid benefit.

MA Paid Family Medical Leave

Act Costs and Benefits

MA paid family leave is a shared benefit, which means that costs are split between the employer and employees or contractors. In organizations of fewer than 25 covered workers, the benefit is voluntary and employee funded. The employer is exempt from paying into the medical leave portion of the plan, and contributions to the family portion of the plan are voluntary.

The Contributions For Policies Under And Over 25 Lives.

The charts below break down the contributions for policies

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees receive payouts as a percentage of their average weekly wage, up to $850 per week in 2021.

Use our handy MA Paid Family Medical Leave calculator below to determine your premiums based on the number of covered individuals in your organization.

Contribution rate split for employers with fewer than 25 covered individuals
Employers with fewer than 25 covered individuals must send an effective contribution rate of 0.46% of eligible wages. This contribution rate is less because small employers are not required to pay the employer share of the medical leave contribution.
Small employers are responsible for sending the funds withheld from covered individuals' wages but are under no obligation to contribute themselves. However, they may elect to cover some or all of the covered individuals' share.