The Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act provides important paid medical leave benefits for eligible employees.
BENEFITS FOR QUALIFYING EMPLOYEES
Qualifying employees get:
- Up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave to care for your own serious health condition, as certified by a health care provider, including illness, injury, or pregnancy/childbirth
- Up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition as certified by a health care provider, including illness, injury, or pregnancy/childbirth
- Up to 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with your child during the first 12 months after birth, adoption, or placement
- Up to 26 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member who was injured serving in the armed forces
- Up to 12 weeks to manage affairs while a family member is on active duty
What is a serious health condition?
A serious health condition is a physical or mental condition that prevents you from doing your job for more than 3 consecutive days. It requires one of the following:
- Overnight stay in a medical facility
- 2 or more treatments by a health care provider within 30 days of whatever prevented you from doing your job
- At least 1 treatment by a health care provider within 30 days of whatever prevented you from doing your job, with plans for continued treatment, including prescriptions
YOUR EMPLOYER IS PROHIBITED FROM RETALIATING AGAINST YOU
A very important aspect of the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act is the protection it gives to employees. When you return from leave, your employer must restore you to the same job you had before taking leave, or to a job that has the same pay status, employment benefits, length-of-service credit, and seniority. One exception is that if your coworkers with similar experience and status were laid off during your leave due to economic conditions or other changes, then your employer doesn’t have to restore you to your same job or to an equivalent job.
Your employer is prohibited from punishing you because you took or applied for PFML. This includes things like:
- Firing you
- Disciplining you
- Suspending you
- Asking you to resign
- Demoting you
- Threatening you
- Discriminating against you
Your employer also cannot punish you for filing a complaint against them for breaking any of these rules. These protections start as soon as you tell your employer that you are planning on taking Paid Family Medical Leave, and stay in place until 6 months after your leave ends. Even if you are covered by a private plan offered through your employer, you will still have the same anti-retaliation and other protections under the Massachusetts Paid Familly Medical Leave law.
Under the law, it is presumed that your employer retaliated against you if there is any negative change to your employment status or adverse action against you during the leave or within six months of the leave. While your employer can rebut this presumption, your employer must have “clear and convincing evidence” that the action was not retaliation and that the employer had “sufficient independent justification” for taking that action and “would have taken such action in the same manner and at the same time the action was taken.” This is more powerful than many other employment-related laws because once there is adverse action, the employer must prove by clear and convincing evidence that it did not retaliate against you.
Please feel free to contact Bennett and Belfort, P.C. with any questions about the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act.