Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) is here



As of January 2021, many workers in Massachusetts will be eligible to apply for paid family leave benefits and/or paid medical leave benefits under the new state Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program. Funding for the program began in October 2019 by premiums paid by employees, employers and the self-employed. The program is managed through the state Department of Family and Medical Leave.

PFML benefits available as of January 1, 2021 include:

  • Covered individuals may be entitled to up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave in a benefit year if they have a serious health condition that incapacitates them from work.

  • Covered individuals may be entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid family leave in a benefit year related to the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child, or because of a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to active duty in the Armed Forces.

  • Covered individuals may be entitled to up to 26 weeks of paid family leave in a benefit year to care for a family member who is a covered service member with a serious health condition.

Paid family leave benefits to care for a family member with a serious health condition will become available on July 1, 2021.

What is the benefit amount?


The program provides partial wage replacement based on a rather complicated formula that takes into account the worker's average weekly wage and the statewide average weekly wage. The Department of Family and Medical Leave will determine the amount based on information gathered from the employer. The total weekly benefit is capped at $850.00, and adjusted annually on January 1 based on the state’s average weekly wage. The benefit amount is pro-rated for workers taking leave on a part-time basis.

How does an employee have to notify an employer?


When leave is foreseeable, the employee must give the employer 30 days notice. If that is not possible, the employee must give the employer as much notice as is practicable. In general, the employee must also provide the employer with a certification from a health care provider, a birth certificate, or a certification from an adoption or foster care agency, as required by the circumstances of the leave.


No retaliation


It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate or retaliate against a covered individual for exercising any right under the PFML law.


Doorways Employment Law, LLC specializes in employment law counseling, strategic advice and representation to employees and small and medium-sized businesses across Massachusetts, including with respect to Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave. Contact Doorways for a PFML consultation.

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