New state law on Paid Family and Medical Leave

A new Massachusetts law on Paid Family and Medical Leave will take effect in 2021. Paid family and medical leave benefits will be available to eligible workers and will be funded by payroll deductions beginning Oct. 1, 2019. Payroll deductions were set to begin July 1, but Gov. Charlie Baker and state legislative leaders have announced a three-month delay. Some businesses were concerned about being ready in time for the July 1 deadline and Chambers of Commerce had lobbied state legislators for a delay.

As of Jan. 1, 2021, employees may be entitled to up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave in a benefit year if they have a serious illness. Employees may be able to receive up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for the birth, adoption or foster care of a child, or for a covered situation in which a family member is on active duty or has impending active duty in the Armed Forces. The law also will enable qualified employees to take up to 26 weeks of paid family leave in a benefit year for a family member who has a serious health issue.

Employers need to prepare for the new law and communicate it to their employees.

What employees need to know

As of Oct. 1, 2019, employers are required to begin withholding payroll deductions for each employee, and report and submit them to the state Department of Family and Medical Leave.

Employers who have 25 or more covered individuals will pay 60 percent of the medical leave contribution and none of the family leave contribution. The family leave portion, which is 17.5 percent of the total premium, is fully paid by employees. Employers with fewer than 25 covered individuals are exempt from the employer’s share of the premiums.

Eligible individuals include full-time, part-time and seasonal W-2 workers and Massachusetts 1099-MISC contractors. Out-of-state businesses with employees who work in Massachusetts also must comply with the law.

How to notify employees of the new law

Employers must notify their workforce of the new law, its benefits and payroll withholdings, and comply with mandatory postings.

A Paid Family and Medical Leave poster that has been approved by the Department of Family and Medical Leave must be hung in the workplace. Employers must give employees written notice of the contributions, benefits and workforce protections, and have each employee sign an acknowledgement. The documents are available on

Payroll process

Work with your payroll service provider to prepare for the payroll deductions and let the provider know if you are required to pay the employer portion.

Be prepared

The new law may seem complicated, but complying with it will be easier if you’re prepared. If you have any questions, contact me at

Contact us today and learn how we can help you!


Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
PARWCC The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches Woman in Business (WIB)
Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA)
BNI Referral Champions Worcester Chapter
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce Central South Mass (CCSM)
50+ Job Seekers
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Central Massachusetts
Women's Information Network (WIN)

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