MA Points Up to date Paid Household And Medical Depart Rules

Wednesday 9th September 2020

The Massachusetts Department of Family and Sick Leave (DFML) recently released the final version of the amended Massachusetts Family and Sick Leave Regulations (PFML). These terms change the original PFML terms, which became effective July 1, 2019.

The amended terms include the following notable updates:


Family or medical leave can now be taken for the treatment of a substance use disorder from (i) a health care provider, (ii) a health care provider on referral by a health care provider, or (iii) a program licensed or approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. An employer may not take any action against an employee in order to exercise his right to leave for such treatment. However, if the employer has an established policy, applied in a non-discriminatory manner, which has been communicated to all employees and which states that an employee may be terminated for substance use under certain circumstances, the employee may be terminated under that policy whether or not, the employee is currently taking vacation. An employee can also take leave of absence to look after an insured family member who is being treated for a substance use disorder.


Private plans must include an internal complaints procedure that employees can use before exercising their right to lodge a complaint with DFML. The internal complaints procedure must allow employees at least ten calendar days after receipt of a rejection to initiate a complaint. However, employees may take additional time to file complaints if circumstances beyond the employees’ control prevent them from timely appeal. Employees must be informed of their rights to pursue complaints within the framework of internal complaints and the DFML complaint process.


While employers who offer PFML benefits that meet or exceed Massachusetts law and regulations are eligible to apply for an exemption from private plans, employers cannot apply for an exemption for just a portion of their insured workforce. However, employers can request an exemption from the obligation to contribute to sick leave insurance, family leave insurance, or both.


Insured persons who take their employer-provided paid vacation will not receive PFML benefits during the time they are taking that accrued vacation.


An insured person who has been separated from an employer for less than 26 weeks and who remains unemployed at the time of submitting a claim for benefits must submit an application for benefits to the person’s previous employer. An insured person who has been separated for less than 26 weeks and who was employed by another employer at the time a benefit application was submitted must submit an application for benefits to the person’s current employer.


DFML will not accept a claim for benefits unless it includes evidence that an employee has given the employer notice at least 30 days before the employee’s vacation begins (unless circumstances beyond the employee’s control have the employee prevented).


Intermittent leave is taken in increments that are consistent with the employer’s policy on taking other forms of leave into account. However, DFML does not pay in increments of less than 15 minutes. In addition, insured persons are not permitted to request payment of temporary vacation benefits until they have eight hours of accumulated vacation time, unless more than 30 calendar days have passed since the insured person’s first vacation.


The presumption of retaliation in the original rules (which applies when an employer makes a “negative change” in an employee’s employment within six months of their vacation or return to work) does not apply to “minor” changes or “subjective changes Inconvenience “” in the work of an employee. This also does not apply if an employer reports to DFML that the employer is justified in believing that this employee has committed fraud in connection with the employee’s claim for benefits. Additionally, violations of employment policies / rules will rebut the presumption of retaliation.

The full set of amended regulations can be found here.

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