It has been almost 10 months since Massachusetts employees have become eligible to apply and receive paid leave under Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave (“PFML”), yet we still meet with employees who are not aware of PFML’s benefits and protections.
Employees should consider PFML when evaluating their various protected leave options, such as sick leave, FMLA leave, STD/LTD and reasonable accommodations.
Here are five (5) key points employees should keep in mind when considering PFML:
- Benefits: This sounds obvious because it’s in the title, but employees on PFML will receive paid benefits. These benefits are funded through a Massachusetts tax.
- Duration: If you are an eligible employee, you can take up to 26 weeks (6 months) of paid leave for medical or family reasons.
- Flexibility: Employees don’t have to schedule their PFML leave all at once. Depending on your needs, you can take your PFML through:
- a continuous leave,
- reduced leave (i.e., working a reduced schedule)
- or intermittent leave (taking time off in increments).
- Job Security: If you take PFML leave, generally your job is protected. It’s unlawful for an employer to retaliate, discipline, terminate, suspend or take similar action against an employee for exercising their rights to PFML. They cannot change your seniority, status, benefits, and other conditions during your PFML leave or the 6-month period following PFML leave.
- Treble Damages: If an employer violates an employee’s rights under PFML, an aggrieved employee may be able to recover 3 times their lost wages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and other damages.
If you are a Massachusetts employee thinking of taking time off to care for a newborn child, a family member, yourself or other similar circumstances, please consider speaking with an attorney about pursing PFML benefits.
Your Employer Cannot Retaliate Against You
If your employer has terminated your employment, interfered with your use of PFML or otherwise retaliated against you for exercising your PFML rights, please contact our office. We can help you take action to enforce your rights.
Call Attorneys Knowledgeable in PFML
We can help you enforce your PFML rights. To learn more, please call or contact the Maura Greene Law Group today to schedule a consultation.
The Not So Fine Print:
We see patterns in our practice, like the ones described above. However, every case has its own unique facts. Before you take any action, you should contact an employment lawyer and get advice on your own situation. We can’t provide legal advice here and this isn’t intended as legal advice. Keep in mind that it is best, if possible, to establish a relationship with an attorney before a workplace issue turns into a full-blown crisis. Employees who have received a verbal or written warning or performance improvement plan, should contact counsel now. Ditto for employees who are seeing their doctor for workplace related stress or anxiety.