Do Small Businesses Need to Provide Family Medical Leave in Massachusetts?
Before 2021, employers with fewer than 50 employees in Massachusetts did not have to provide family or medical leave, beyond the five earned sick days required by state law.
Beginning in 2021, however, the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act was fully rolled out. This means all Massachusetts employers must provide job-protected leave for employees eligible under the new law.
Generally speaking, leave is available for the birth, adoption, or bonding with a child, an employee's serious medical condition, an employee's need to care for an immediate family member with a serious medical condition, and certain other circumstances affecting military families.
If eligible, the employee is entitled to partial pay, but this does not come out of the employer's pocket. Instead, the employers should have been deducting from employee wages over the past two years and contributing those amounts into the state fund. Much like unemployment, the payments to employees come from this central fund.
You should be aware, however, that the Massachusetts PFML contains some strict anti-retaliation provisions, meaning you might face legal liability if you terminate an employee after they have requested or taken PFML.
Learn more here about the Massachusetts Paid Family Leave Law.
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