Skip to main content

e-Alert: MA PFML Guidance on Intermittent Leave and Reduced Leave Schedule

By January 14, 2021No Comments


The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has issued additional guidance on Intermittent Leave and Reduced Leave Schedule.


Intermittent Leave

  • Leave taken in separate periods of time (rather than one consecutive period) due to a single qualifying reason.
  • Intermittent leave should be taken in increments complying with the employer’s policy. The DFML will not pay in increments of less than 15 minutes.
  • Employees will not be allowed to apply for payment for benefits until they have met eight hours of accumulated leave time or more than 30 calendar days have passed since the start of taking leave.

Reduced Leave Schedule

  • An employee’s schedule that has been reduced from the usual number of hours per workweek or hours per workday.

Medical Leave or Qualifying Exigency Leave

  • For intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule taken because of one’s own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness, or leave for a qualifying exigency, the minimum increment may not exceed one hour. (An exigency is when the employee’s spouse, child, or parent is on active military duty or called to covered active-duty status).
  • For claims administered by the Department, increments must be measured in 15-minute multiples as smaller minimum increments cannot be administered.
  • Meaning an employer can choose increments between 15-minutes to 1-hour for intermittent leave, but must do so fairly and consistently for all employees.

Bonding Leave

  • For family leave to bond with a child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement, intermittent leave or reduced leave schedule may only be taken if the employer and employee mutually agree.

Employees must submit a request for an intermittent or reduced schedule leave with the applicable minimum increment, or risk having the request rounded down to the applicable increment. When the minimum increment is not met, the benefit will not be paid.  In all circumstances, intermittent leave and leave on a reduced leave schedule shall be paid by the Department in increments of at least 15-minutes and only when an employee has accumulated eight hours of leave time or more than 30 calendar days has lapsed since the initial leave.

Employers Next Steps

  • To stay up to date on Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave, visit HRK’s Resource Library or the Department of Family and Medical Leave.
  • Determine your company’s stance on intermittent leave or reduced leave schedule for accommodations, ensuring consistency across all leave requests.
  • If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client, and would like to update your MA PFML leave policies, please contact us.

The People Simplifying HR

For almost twenty years, HR Knowledge has made it our mission to demystify the complex and daunting process of HR management. We do more than just provide the level of service and technology you’d expect from an industry leader. We combine an unparalleled passion for service with our decades of HR, payroll, and benefits experience to provide our clients with personalized and actionable advice that is second—to—none. From managed payroll to employee benefits to HR support, we can help your organization thrive, grow, and reduce operating costs — no matter what industry you serve. Whether you’re interested in our Full-Service solution or just need your employee handbook written, HR Knowledge can help you minimize risk while staying on top of compliance regulations. The bottom line? We’re not just another cloud-based technology company that also does HR, #WeAreHR. Get the scoop on how we can help you simplify HR.

This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.