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Massachusetts PFML Improvements for 2023

After evaluation of the fiscal year 2022 PFML utilization, the Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave (DFML) is reducing contributions to .63% of payroll (from .68% in 2022) capped at the 2023 Social Security wage base ($160,200). The maximum weekly PFML benefit will also increase to $1,129.82 (from $1,084.31 in 2022).


Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave Recap

Covered Employers

Paid Family Medical Leave applies to most employers in the state of Massachusetts, regardless of size. Generally, PFML eligibility follows the same criteria as unemployment insurance. If an employer has W-2 employees in the state of Massachusetts and is required to report their wages then the employer is subject to PFML. Employers with 1099-MISC contractors who make up more than 50% of the workforce may be subject to PFML if certain criteria are met.

Covered Employees and Available Leave

Employees who earned at least $5,700 during the last four completed calendar quarters, and at least 30 times the weekly benefit amount they are eligible to receive are able to take:

  • Up to 12 weeks of paid leave in a rolling 12-month period for the birth of a child, to bond with a child after birth, or after the placement of the child for adoption or foster care to care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • Up to 20 weeks of paid leave in a rolling 12-month period for the employee’s own medical condition
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid leave in a rolling 12-month period to care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • Up to 26 weeks of paid leave in a rolling 12-month period for certain military connected events

The amount of leave available to employees is capped at 20 weeks per 12-month period for medical leave and 12 weeks per 12-month period for family leave. The maximum combined family and medical leave that an employee can take is capped at 26 weeks in a rolling 12-month period.

The weekly benefit is calculated as a percentage of pay based on the average weekly wage. For 2023 the maximum weekly benefit is $1,129.82.

Employees can estimate the benefit payment they will receive while on leave by using the Massachusetts Benefits Calculator.


Paid Family and Medical Leave Funding – Prior Years

The DFML set initial contributions beginning October 19, 2019 at .75% of payroll based on the employee’s first $128,400 in wages. This percentage was allocated between medical leave (.62%) and family leave (.13%)

Employers with 25 or more employees in the state of Massachusetts were obligated to pay 60% of the medical leave (.372%) and 0% of the family leave. Employees were obligated to pay .248% (the remaining 40% of the medical leave) and .13% (100%) of the family leave.

Employers with fewer than 25 employees working in Massachusetts were not obligated to contribute and simply remit the employee share of the premium (.248% for medical leave and .13% for family leave).

For 2022, the DFML reduced the funding to .68% of payroll based on the employee’s first $142,800 in wages. The allocation for 2022 was .56% for medical leave and .12% for family leave.


Paid Family and Medical Leave Funding – 2023

In 2023, employers and employees will once again see a decrease to.63% of eligible wages (capped at the Social Security Wage limit of $160,200. The allocation is .52% for medical leave and .11% for family leave.

Employers with 25 or more covered individuals must remit the total contribution of .63% split between the employee and employer. Employers pay .312% of the medical leave allocation, and 0% of family leave allocation. Employees pay .208% of the medical leave allocation and .11% of the family leave allocation.

Employers with fewer than 25 employees simply deduct and remit the employee share of the allocation - .208% for medical leave and .11% for family leave.


Opting Out

Employers who offer a private plan for their employees that is at least as generous as what is required under the law can apply for a private exemption and opt out of the state PFML plan. Employers will need to apply for an exemption annually. The PFML website provides details on applying for an exemption.


Other Employer Responsibilities

Employers are required to inform employees about their benefits and rights under the PFML by displaying or employees.

In addition, employers must have a registered Leave Administrator with the DFML who will be responsible for reviewing and processing employee claims on behalf of the organization, and employers must maintain records and documents containing medical information relating to PFML requests in separate files.

The Massachusetts PFML Toolkit provides detailed information for remitting payments, registering a Leave Administrator, language rules for posters, and other relevant information.


Karen Hooper

About the author

Karen Hooper

VP, Senior Compliance Manager

Karen Hooper, CEBS, CMS, Fellow, is a Vice President and Senior Compliance Manager working closely with the Lead Benefit Counsel in Newfront's Employee Benefits division. She works closely with internal staff and clients regarding compliance issues, providing information, education and training.


The information provided is of a general nature and an educational resource. It is not intended to provide advice or address the situation of any particular individual or entity. Any recipient shall be responsible for the use to which it puts this document. Newfront shall have no liability for the information provided. While care has been taken to produce this document, Newfront does not warrant, represent or guarantee the completeness, accuracy, adequacy, or fitness with respect to the information contained in this document. The information provided does not reflect new circumstances, or additional regulatory and legal changes. The issues addressed may have legal, financial, and health implications, and we recommend you speak to your legal, financial, and health advisors before acting on any of the information provided.

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