Massachusetts is one of just 11 states, along with the District of Columbia, that guarantee paid family and medical leave for employees. Workers in all states have the right to take time off to care for a close family member or their own medical needs thanks to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, they may need to rely on disability insurance or other benefits if they want to recoup any of their wages.
Those states with their own paid family leave programs cover different situations. Massachusetts’ Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program is funded by contributions made by both employers and employees.
How much do I get, and how long can I take?
Any employee who has earned at least $6,000 during the last year is eligible. However, they’re only eligible for one-thirtieth of what they earned in the last year. For example, if someone earned $30,000 in the past year, they’d be eligible for $1,000 in PFML coverage. The majority of people can take as long as 26 total weeks in one benefit year (which starts just before your leave does).
What reasons qualify for PFML?
Among the qualifying reasons are the following:
- You have a serious health condition (an injury or illness that makes you unable to work for at least three days) or pregnancy and childbirth
- You need to care for a family member who has a serious health condition
- To need to bond with your new child (whom you get either through birth, adoption or other type of placement)
- You have to care for a family member who was injured while serving in the military
This leave doesn’t have to be taken all at once. For example, you may need to take a few days off intermittently to help care for a loved one who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
These are just a few details about Massachusetts’ PFML program. It’s also important to know that your employer cannot legally retaliate against you in any way for applying for or taking this leave. If you’re having difficulty getting your application approved or any other issues due to your use of this program, it may be wise to seek legal guidance.