Paid family, medical leave benefit program launches in Massachusetts

Massachusetts

BOSTON (NEWS10) – The Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) announced that workers eligible for Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) may begin filing certain benefit requests on January 1, 2021 in accordance with legislation enacted in 2018. 

PFML provides temporary income replacement to eligible workers. Starting January 1, 2021, workers can apply for leave for welcoming a new child into their family, for their own serious health condition, and for certain military considerations. Starting July 1, 2021, workers can apply for leave to care for an ill or ailing relative.  

The program, which is offered separately from the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and any employer-offered leave, provides up to 20 weeks of paid leave per benefit year to manage a serious personal health condition, up to 12 weeks to care for a family member or to bond with a child, and up to 26 weeks to care for a family member who is a member of the armed service.  

Beginning January 1, 2021, Massachusetts workers can apply for: 

  • Medical leave due to their own serious health condition. Workers may take up to 20 weeks per year of paid leave to manage a serious health condition.  
  • Family leave to bond with a child. Family leave can be taken by a parent or legal guardian to bond with a child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. Eligibility for family leave used for bonding with a child is limited to the child’s parents or legal guardians, although certain other family members may be eligible to take family leave for caring for a child that has a serious medical condition. Workers who are parents or legal guardians may take up to 12 weeks of family leave to bond with a child. The annual 12-week maximum remains the same even if multiple childbirths, adoptions, or foster care placements occur in the same year.
  • Family leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition that relates to military service. Workers may take up to 26 weeks of family leave per year to care for a family member who is a current member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and who is: 
    • Undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious health condition that was received or aggravated while the patient was deployed in a foreign country. 
    • Being treated as an outpatient for a serious health condition that was received or aggravated while they were deployed in a foreign country. 
    • On the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness that happened while deployed in a foreign country. 
    • On the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service while deployed in a foreign country. 

Family leave to manage any needs that occur immediately after a family member is deployed in a foreign country or has been notified of an upcoming deployment in a foreign country. Workers may take up to 12 weeks of family leave per year to manage needs which may include:

  • Caring for a deployed family member’s child or other family member immediately before their deployment. 
  • Making financial or legal arrangements for deployed family member. 
  • Attending counseling. 
  • Attending military events or ceremonies. 
  • Spending time with a deployed family member during a rest or recuperation period. 
  • Spending time with a family member when they return from deployment. 
  • Making necessary arrangements following the death of a family member who had been deployed. 

Beginning July 1, 2021 Massachusetts workers can apply for:

  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition. Workers may take up to 12 weeks of family leave per year to care for a family member with a serious health condition. For the purposes of family leave used to care for a family member, family members include spouses, domestic partners, children, parents, grandchildren, grandparents or siblings; spouses’ or domestic partners’ parents; and guardians who legally acted as a parent when the worker is a minor.  Workers can take paid family leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition regardless of where the family member resides. 

To learn how to apply for Paid Family and Medical Leave, visit paidleave.mass.gov.

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