How is PFML different FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act)?

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 is a federal law that allows employees to go for unpaid leave without losing their jobs. This provision allows individuals with a spouse, parent, or child with a serious health condition to take time to take care of them. The federal law mandates that any employer with 50 or more employees should abide by it.

On the other hand, Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) is a Massachusetts State Act that dictates every employer regardless of the size of their organization should have it in place to cover eligible employees with protected paid leaves for similar reasons as in FMLA.

In this regard, let’s take an in-depth dive into what is entailed in PFML

What is PFML?

It’s a Massachusetts state law that entitles eligible employees in the state with protected leaves of up to 26 weeks with paid benefits. The program is funded by the state’s tax rather than federal funding. More importantly, even if this benefit is different from FMLA, they both work to complement each other.

Who is Eligible for PFML?

Many employers and employees in Massachusetts are oblivious of how PFML works. If you need a helpful checklist you can check out HR@Work where they have a checklist you can follow on their website. And it is the responsibility of an employer to provide PMLF information to their employees. Nevertheless, workers covered include:

  • Self-employed individuals
  • Every W2-workers (full-time, part-time, or seasonal)
  • 1099-MISC workers in the state

Always remember to consult your employer to know if you fall under the PFML category.

How Does PFML Work

PFML went active on October, 1, 2019, and the eligible candidates can benefit from it starting from January 1, 2021. Notably, individuals covered by PFML contribute a percentage tax— 0.75% to be precise is deducted from their eligible wages. Together with the contribution made by the employer, this is how the state of Massachusetts fund PFML. The deductible amount varies depending on the amount contributed by each party and the maximum amount that can come from a covered individual’s paycheck is $0.38 per $100.00.

Can I Opt-Out

PFML allows employers to opt-out of the program if they can pay benefits equal to or greater than the PMLF benefits to an employee. More importantly, they have to prove they can provide the same rights and protection as the program.

On the other hand, covered employees cannot opt-out. However, it is not mandatory for self-employed to make contributions to the PFML. They can just opt-in and opt-out by failing to make the contributions.

When Does PFML Come in Handy

An eligible individual can enjoy PFML benefits as from January 1, 2021. And below are some of the reasons to take the paid leave and they include:

  • To bond with a newborn child
  • To cater for a sick family member
  • To manage delicate family affairs
  • To create a bond with an adopted child

These are some of the reasons in the long list that can prompt an individual to seek PFML benefits.

Final Thoughts

PFML works at a state level in Massachusetts while FMLA works on a national level. However, both of these acts work to complement each other and not to cancel each other out.

For more information on PFML and FMLA, you can check out these upcoming dates so you are on top of things!

Cynthia Peters

Blogger, web designer, guy making his way through life.