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e-Alert: Massachusetts Employees Can Soon Take Paid Family Leave To Care for Family Member

By June 23, 2021No Comments


Beginning July 1, 2021, all eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks off to care for a family member with a serious health condition.


PFML-qualifying reasons are substantially similar (but not identical) to qualifying reasons for leave under the FMLA.

Who is covered?

The Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) benefits are expanding to allow employees to care for covered family members. Covered family members are as follows:

  • Spouse, Domestic Partner
  • Child, Grandchild
  • Grandparent
  • Sibling
  • Parent of Spouse or Domestic Partner
  • Legal Guardian/Acting parent from the time employee was a minor

What is considered a serious health condition? (Health Condition Guide)

A serious health condition is one that prevents an employee from doing his or her job for more than three consecutive full calendar days and requires:

  • Two or more treatments by a health care provider (In person or via telehealth) within 30 calendar days of the initial inability to perform duties; or
  • Overnight stay in hospital, hospice, or medical facility; or
  • At least one treatment provided by health care provider within 30 days of inability to perform duties, with plans for continuing treatment, including prescriptions.

Who is eligible?

  • All active/current W-2 employees
  • All former W-2 employees if unemployed and separated for under 26 weeks or less at the start of PFML

Where must the covered family member live?

  • The residence of the family member does not affect eligibility; the covered family member can be located anywhere

What will the employee need to provide for a PFML request on behalf of a family member?

Information must be provided by the family member’s health care provider (Certification of Serious Health Condition must be downloaded and completed at Certification of Serious Health Condition Form). The information must include:

  • That the family member has a serious health condition
  • Date the condition began
  • Anticipated continuance of condition
  • Any other information pertaining to condition
  • Information on how often or how long the family member will need to be cared for by the employee
  • Name and address of family member as well as relation to employee
  • Proof of family member’s identify

Can employers apply for an exemption to PFML contributions made to the Massachusetts leave department?

  • The employer must offer an approved private plan that provides paid leave benefits equal to or more generous than benefits provided by the PFML program to receive approval for exemption
  • Two Qualifying Private Plans include Self-Insured (funded by employer) or Purchased Private Plan (Employer’s Insurance Carrier licensed by Department of Insurance (DOI))
  • All plans must meet necessary requirements under PFML (Guide)

Employers Next Steps

  • We recommend that you review applicable paid leave policies in place to ensure they meet requirements of PFML.
  • We also suggest you review state guidance on PFML for Family Leave (Guide).
  • If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client and would like our assistance with updating your policy, please email us.

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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.