What is the Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave Act?

The Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act is a new law that will provide eligible Massachusetts employees with certain paid medical and family leaves, starting in 2021

MIT already provides paid medical, parental, and family leave benefits for most of its employees, and those leaves are often more generous than required under this new law. However, the new law will provide many Massachusetts employees with paid leave benefits that they do not currently have.

What Does the Law Provide?

Medical leave

  • Up to 20 weeks of paid leave per year for an employee’s own serious health condition, beginning January 1, 2021

Family leave

  • Up to 12 weeks of paid leave per year for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child, beginning January 1, 2021
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid leave per year to care for a family member with a serious health condition, beginning July 1, 2021
  • Paid leaves relating to a family member in the armed services (either up to 12 weeks or 26 weeks, depending on the reason for the leave), beginning January 1, 2021

An employee may take up to 26 weeks of paid leave (total) per year. The amount of pay is set by a state formula, up to a weekly maximum which is currently $850 (gross pay).

How is MIT Responding to the Law?

Employers may comply with this new law either by:

  • participating in the state’s medical and family leave programs or
  • opting out of the state medical and/or family leave programs as long as the employer has a private plan that provides benefits that are at least as generous as the benefits required by state law

The law allows employers to deduct from an employee’s paycheck a tax to fund the cost of these paid leave programs, starting on October 1, 2019.

MIT has opted out of the state medical and family leave programs and will provide at least the state-mandated leave benefits beginning in 2021. MIT does not plan to deduct an employee contribution, so your paycheck will not be affected by this new tax.

Note: MIT is discussing the effects of this law with representatives of its unionized employees.

How Can I Learn More?