Can Self-Employed Individuals get Paid Family Medical Leave?
How the Self-Employed Can Access PFML
Many benefits, such as unemployment (except during the pandemic) are unavailable to the self employed and 1099 contractors. Prior to enactment of the Paid Family Medical Leave Act ("PFMLA"), unless you have independently purchased a short or long term disability policy for yourself, you may not have any income at all if you need to stop working either for your own health condition or to take care of an ill family member.
Under the PFMLA, however, you can opt in to the program simply by contributing a relatively small amount (based on your income) over the year to the PFML fund. Once you have made these contributions for two out of the prior four quarters, you are eligible to apply for benefits.
Some may choose to continue to rely on disability insurance rather than opt in. Something to consider, however, is that PFML provides benefits for more situations than most disability policies- for example, time off to care for a family member who is ill, or to bond with an adopted child or a child you did not give birth to.
Learn more here about the Massachusetts Paid Family Leave and the Self-Employed.
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