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Massachusetts Publishes Family & Medical Leave Rules

Massachusetts enacted legislation to create a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”) program providing benefits beginning in January 1, 2021 and July 1, 2021.


This legislation is going to force all employers to provide paid family and medical leave benefits to their employees through either a state program or an approved private plan.

An approved private plan will:

  • Cost employees the same or less than what they would pay under the state’s plan, and
  • Provide equal or better rights and protections as those provided under the state’s program


Required contributions:

Massachusetts employers with a workforce of any size, that do not adopt an approved private plan, must pay PFML contributions to the state beginning July 1, 2019.

  • The total contribution for an employee is 0.63% of qualifying earnings (capped at the Social Security maximum, currently $132,900).
  • For this purpose, qualifying earnings means: Wages paid to an employee; and Payments to covered business entities to covered contract workers.


If the employer has at least 25 covered individuals (i.e., employees and 1099 contractors in MA), both the employer and the employee share in the cost of medical leave benefits. The employee is responsible for the cost of the family leave benefits. The following illustrates the breakdown:

  • Medical Leave Contribution: 0.52% of eligible payroll deduction. Employer: At least 60% of the medical leave cost is paid by the employer Employee: No more than 40% of medical leave can be deducted from the employee’s wages.
  • Family Leave Contributions: 0.11% of eligible payroll deduction. May be paid entirely from employee wages (no employer contribution required).


If the employer has fewer than 25 covered individuals in Massachusetts, the employer is not required to contribute toward to medical leave portion of the benefit.


Next Steps for Employers

The Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) has recently published regulations for public comment and a guide for employers.


Download the PDF to read our 4-page synopsis of additional key items you need to know.

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Massachusetts Publishes Family & Medical Leave Rules - 050319U (1)
Massachusetts Publishes Family & Medical Leave Rules - 050319U (1)
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Arthur Grutt