New Family Medical Leave Rules in Massachusetts

Beginning January 1, 2021, Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) benefits will become available in Massachusetts. PFML is a state-offered benefit for anyone who works in Massachusetts and is eligible to take up to 26 weeks of paid leave for medical or family reasons. It is separate from both the federally mandated benefits offered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and leave benefits that may be offered by an employer.

Does PFML apply to all Massachusetts employers?

All Massachusetts employers are subject to PFML, with some exceptions:

  • Self-employed individuals and most independent contractors are excluded (they may opt in).
  • Municipal employers are excluded (in some cases they may opt in).
  • Other exceptions may apply. Learn more here.

Massachusetts employers can apply for an exemption from the law if they wish to offer a private plan instead. For approval, they will need to demonstrate that their private plan meets or exceeds the state plan’s benefits and requirements. See details about exemptions and how to submit a request for a PFML exemption here.

Action Steps for Employers

Employers with employees in Massachusetts should determine what their contributions will be, what kind of reporting they will do, and what other requirements and preparations will need to be made to be compliant.

To learn more about this benefit and commonly asked questions you can read the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) fact sheet or visit the State of Massachusetts webpage for PFML.

If you have questions related to this update, please contact your North Risk Partners advisor. Don’t have an advisor? No problem. We’ll help you find one.

This regulatory update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.