Massachusetts Paid Household and Medical Go away Act – January 1 Implications | Locke Lord LLP

Although Massachusetts employers have likely been preparing for and complying with the Massachusetts Family Paid Vacation and Medical Leave Act (“MA PFMLA”) for more than a year, January 1 marks the day Massachusetts employees first leave benefit from the provisions of the MA PFMLA.

From the first day of the next year, employees are entitled to a range of vacation benefits under the MA PFMLA. In particular, employees are then allowed to take paid medical leave to manage their own serious health conditions. and they will be allowed to take paid family leave to manage affairs while a family member is abroad on active military service, caring for a family member who is a military service member with a serious medical condition, or bonding with a newborn child; adopted or placed in foster care. From July 1, 2021, employees can also take paid family leave to look after family members with serious health problems. The maximum weekly benefit for all types of vacation under the MA PFMLA is $ 850.

The duration of the vacation depends on the type of vacation:

  • How to treat your own serious health condition: 20 weeks.
  • To manage affairs while a family member is doing military service abroad: 12 weeks.
  • Caring for a military service member with a serious illness: 26 weeks.
  • Bonding with a child: 12 weeks.
  • Caring for a family member’s severe health: 12 weeks.

An employee can take both family leave and medical leave in a “performance year”, but the total amount of leave cannot exceed 26 weeks. “Performance Year” is defined as the 52 consecutive weeks beginning on the Sunday immediately before the day on which an employee is entitled to vacation.

“Severe Health Conditions” include pregnancy; chronic diseases (such as diabetes) that prevent an employee from working for certain periods of time and have to see a doctor more than twice a year; permanent or long-term conditions (such as cancer) that require constant attention but do not necessarily require active treatment; and conditions that require multiple treatments (such as dialysis or physical therapy). “Family member” includes the spouse of an insured employee, the life partner, the child, the parent, the parent of a spouse, the grandchild, the grandparent or the sibling.

An important consideration for employers under the MA PFMLA is that they can withdraw from the law if they offer their employees benefits that are equal to or higher than the MA PFMLA benefits. However, these employers must apply to the Ministry of Family and Sick Leave for an exemption.

Although they offer similar benefits in certain situations, the MA PFMLA differs in important ways from the Federal Law on Family and Sick Leave (“FMLA”). Perhaps most importantly, the MA PFMLA provides for paid leave and employers are responsible for collecting and paying contributions on their behalf. In contrast, the FMLA provides for unpaid leave so employers are not responsible for collecting or transferring contributions. Other critical differences are the fact that employers of all sizes in Massachusetts may be subject to the MA PFMLA, while the FMLA only applies to employers with 50 or more employees, and the fact that MA PFMLA benefits are not based on length of time a person has worked for their current employer while employees are not eligible for FMLA benefits until they have worked for their current employer for at least 12 months.

Massachusetts employers should be aware of these and other critical provisions of the MA PFMLA as January 1, 2021 approaches.

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