On January 1st, 2021, the first phase of the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program went into effect. Eligible employees were permitted to take job-protected, paid leave to deal with a personal medical condition. On July 1st, 2021, the second phase of the Commonwealth’s PFML law took effect. Eligible employees may now take job-protected, paid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Here, our Massachusetts employee rights attorneys explain the most important things to know about taking PFML leave to assist a family member.
Taking Paid Family Leave to Care for a Family Member in Massachusetts
Funding through state-level taxes, the Massachusetts PFML law covers most employees. Starting July 1st, 2021, the law is in full effect and eligible employees may take paid leave for their own medical condition or to provide care for a family member who is dealing with a serious health condition. Here are five things to know about using PFML benefits to care for a loved one:
- Massachusetts Provides Up to 12 Weeks of Benefits: Under the Massachusetts PFML law, a maximum of 12 weeks of paid, job protected leave are available for the care of a family member who has a qualifying “serious health condition.”
- Family Members Spouse, Children, and More: The law provides coverage for more than just “nuclear” family members. As explained by the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave, you may take PFML to care for a spouse, child, stepchild, parent, grandparent, or sibling.
- A “Serious Health Condition” Requires Inpatient or Continuing Care: The term “serious health condition” is defined as one that requires inpatient care at a hospital/medical facility or some form of continuing care.
- Notify Your Employer 30 Days in Advance (When Possible): Under state regulations, employees should notify their employer of their intention to take leave to care for a family member at least 30 days in advance or as soon as possible. Obviously, many serious medical issues arise without warning. No notice is required in an emergency or otherwise unexpected situation.
- PFML Leave is Fully Job-Protected: Finally, it is important to emphasize that the Massachusetts PFML law provides job-protected leave to people who are caring for a family member with a serious health condition. Your employer cannot terminate you or otherwise take adverse action against you simply because you exercised your rights to take paid leave.
Navigating paid family and medical leave issues can be quite complicated—especially if you are trying to navigate your rights and options under federal law, state law, and your company’s internal policies. If you have any specific questions about your legal rights or legal options, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Massachusetts paid family medical leave attorneys for help.
Get Help From a Massachusetts Employment Law Attorney
At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, LLC, our Massachusetts employment lawyers are skilled, passionate advocates for worker rights. We have a deep understanding of the Commonwealth’s PFML regulations. Contact us today for a confidential review of your case. From our legal offices in Northampton and Springfield, we advocate for employee rights throughout Western Massachusetts, including in Holyoke, Chicopee, Agawam, Amherst, Hadley, East Longmeadow, and Ludlow.