What You Need To Know About Paid Family Leave In Massachusetts

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts has joined a growing number of states by collecting wages for paid family leave and sick time—and the law is going into effect today. Here's what you need to know.

Prince Lobel Attorney Daniel Tarlow told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe the law is "groundbreaking."

"It's one of the few, and probably the most generous, paid family and medical leave acts in the country," Tarlow said. "Unlike the federal family and medical leave act, which many are familiar with, this is paid."

The program was signed into law in June of 2018, but will start affecting paychecks as of October 1.

How much will be taken out of your paycheck?

As of Tuesday, employers will start taking that money out of your paycheck to start building up the fund that will pay for the family and medical leave benefits.

"Employers with 25 or more covered workers will also have to contribute out of the employers' own purse to help build up the fund," Tarlow explained.

Less than one percent of every dollar earned by employees goes to the fund, paid by either employee or boss, to cover up 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents or to care for a sick relative.

According to the Mass.gov website, the most you'll ever see taken out of your paycheck is $0.38 for every $100.

It will be taken out of the first paycheck you receive after Tuesday.

What will the fund pay for, exactly?

The fund will pay for paid family and medical leave, available to all workers in the state.

It covers 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents, or those caring for a sick family member.

It also covers up to 20 weeks of paid leave for those dealing with their own medical issues—with some more allowed for military members.

Workers will be allowed 26 weeks total of either.

How soon will workers be able to use those benefits?

Not for another fifteen months, because the fund has to be built up first, Tarlow explains.

"The benefits do not kick in until 2021, but as of January of 2021, Massachusetts workers will be entitled to up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave for their own serious medical condition, and beginning in July of 2021, Massachusetts employees will be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for a family member's serious health condition, with an expanded definition of family member," he said.

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