Paid Family and Medical Leave in Massachusetts

Employers in Massachusetts should start to plan for the new Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Law, which will begin to be implemented in stages.

 Paid Family and Medical Leave in Massachusetts.  Pictured here is a newborn baby and dad

6/2019 Update:  The effective start date for required MA PFML contributions is now October 1, 2019 (extended from July 1, 2019)

When we talk about Family and Medical Leave, we first may think about the Federal Law that states employees may take up to 12 weeks off, and may retain their insurance, but this may be without pay unless the employer chooses to do otherwise.  

Over the past couple of years, five states plus Washington DC have adopted paid leave statutes. When Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Paid Family & Medical Leave Act (PFML) in June of 2018, Massachusetts was added to the list.  What does this mean to Massachusetts business owners and their employees?

According to Genesis HR Solutions, the cost of the program will be shared equally by the employer and the employee.  Here are the benefits workers will receive:

  • Workers will receive 12 weeks of paid leave to:
    • Be with a newborn, adopted, or foster child.
    • Care for a seriously ill or injured family member.
  • Up to 20 weeks for a worker’s own serious illness or injury.
  • Up to 26 weeks for the family member of a military service person to care for that person.

In addition, according to Genesis, workers must be employed long enough to qualify for unemployment insurance, but the program is portable, which means that an individual who changes jobs does not have to re-qualify for the benefit, which is paid as follows:

  • 80 percent of the employee’s wages, up to one-half of the Average Weekly Wage (AWW) in Massachusetts (which is currently about $1,200).
  • For workers who earn more than 50 percent of the AWW, the remainder would be paid at 50 percent.

As a Massachusetts employer, you're likely going to have new responsibilities under the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law. The State of MA has provided a guide that is intended to help you prepare for those responsibilities before the law's effective date of October 1, 2019.  This is an extension of the original effective date of 7/1/2019

The Guide to Paid Family and Medical Leave for Massachusetts Employers  discusses the following:

  • The Timeline of when the changes to the MA Paid Family and Medical Leave takes effect
  • The Employer responsibilities with regard to PFML
  • Notifying your workforce of PFML
  • Required Contributions
  • Reporting and Documentation
  • Exemptions for approved private plans
  • Self Employed individuals

Below is the proposed timeline:


proposed timeline of Massachusetts PFML

image provided by

We wanted to give you a brief overview of what's coming.  Different employers will have different unique concerns regarding how to prepare for PFML in MA, and it's best to consult with an Human Resources Specialist for guidance.  

With offices in Danvers & Winthrop Massachusetts, Elliot Whittier Insurance has been awarded the Five Star Award of Distinction  from the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents.  Elliot Whittier Insurance is also a Trusted Choice® Agency and represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your specialized needs.  You can visit Elliot Whittier Insurance online at or email or call 800-696-3947



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