Frequently Asked Questions
Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave Act (MAPFML) took effect on January 1, 2021. Brandeis has developed a set of comprehensive and consistent paid family and medical leave benefits that best support employees and their families. Our primary goal is always to put the health and well-being of you and your family first. We know taking a leave of absence can be stressful and confusing, and we have done our best to simplify the process while giving you expanded leave options that support a work-life balance.
The Standard, our third party leave administrator, manages family and medical leave absence requests.
Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act Overview
What is Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (MAPFML)?
Mass Paid Family and Medical Leave is a Massachusetts law that provides paid family and medical leave benefits to eligible workers living and working in Massachusetts *. Under MPFML, eligible employees can take leave:
- For your own serious health condition as certified by a healthcare provider, including illness, injury, or pregnancy/childbirth (up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave)
- To bond with your child during the first 12 months after birth, adoption, or foster placement (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)
- To care for a family member with a serious health condition as certified by a healthcare provider, including illness, injury, or pregnancy/childbirth (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)
- To care for a family member who was injured serving in the armed forces (up to 26 weeks of paid family leave)
- To manage affairs while a family member is on active duty (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)
Complete Details about Eligible Leaves
Generally, MAPFML coverage is available to all workers who work in Massachusetts and receive a W-2, whether full-time, part-time, or seasonal. In order to be eligible for MA Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits, employees must work for Brandeis in Massachusetts. If you work for Brandeis in another state, you are not eligible for Brandeis' Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits, but your state may offer similar programs. Please contact your states' family leave department for additional information.
In addition, former employees who have been unemployed for 26 weeks or fewer, and are not reemployed, are covered. Please note that 1099 contractors and work study students are not eligible for MAPFML at this time; additionally, students who work at a non-profit college or university and for whom Brandeis does not contribute to unemployment for their work are excluded from coverage .
The benefit duration depends on the type of leave requested and approved as follows:
- Medical leave for your own serious health condition: 20 weeks per benefit year.
- Family leave to bond with a new child: 12 weeks per benefit year.
- Family leave arising from a covered service member's call to active duty: 12 weeks per benefit year.
- Family leave taken to provide care to a family member with a serious health condition suffered while on active duty in the armed forces: 26 weeks per benefit year.
Combined maximum: 26 weeks.
A benefit year is the period of 52 consecutive weeks beginning on the Sunday immediately before your first day of leave.
The amount of benefits you are eligible to receive for our private MAPFML plan is based on your own average weekly wage when you apply for leave. The maximum total amount that you can receive in MAPFML benefits is currently $1,129.82* per week. Please see the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Calculator to estimate your weekly benefit should you choose to apply.
*Maximum weekly benefit effective January 1, 2023, indexed annually.
FMLA is a federal law that provides unpaid, job-protected leave for similar reasons as MAPFML. However, there are important differences between the two laws:
Employee must have worked with their employer for 12 months, with at least 1,250 hours worked
Generally, all MA employees who meet the eligibility criteria previously described
For what and for how long can I use benefits?
12 weeks for family and medical
26 weeks for family member in the military
12 weeks for family
20 weeks for medical
12 or 26 for family member in the military
Is the benefit paid?
Is my leave job protected?
What is the definition of covered family member?
Spouse, child, parent (including any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a child)
Spouse, domestic partner, child, parent or parent of a spouse or domestic partner; a person who stood in loco parentis when you were a minor; or your grandchild, grandparent or sibling
Major differences are highlighted in bold above. MAPFML will run at the same time as any federal (FMLA), state laws (e.g. MA Parental Leave Act) or Brandeis benefits if you are eligible.
Learm More About The Difference Between Programs
The most complete and current detail about MAPFML is available on the Mass.gov. Please see the complete Benefits Guide.
However, please note that Brandeis benefits may be more generous than what the law requires. Please read these FAQs in full for more information.
While employers can charge employees for private MAPFML plans, up to the maximum amounts set by the state, Brandeis has decided to not charge employees at this time. We reserve the right to change this approach in the future and will notify employees in advance if a change is made.
You must have a serious health condition to be eligible for a paid medical leave under MAPFML. Under the MAPFML, a serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves:
• Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical facility; or
• Continuing treatment by a health care provider.
See examples of serious health conditions
Details of the leave programs will vary for each individual based on employment category (faculty, staff, adjunct faculty or non-benefits-eligible).
Please refer to Brandeis’ New Medical and Family Leave Programs page for information about your specific situation.
No. Employees do not need to elect these benefits. Additionally, there are no decisions related to leave programs required of our employees during the Annual Enrollment period.
The Standard administers these benefits.
You may use your sick leave during the first week (waiting period) to receive 100% pay.
MA PFML does not require employees to use earned time off but can choose to do so. If you choose to, you can supplement the weeks at 80% and 60% levels with your earned paid time off to get to 100%.
Under MAPFML you may be eligible time off for bonding with a new child, caring for a sick family member or certain situations related to active military service.
Leave for bonding with a child can be taken anytime during the first 12 months after birth, adoption or foster placement.
Generally, no, as MAPFML will run at the same time as other federal and state laws when both apply. So, you cannot take 12 weeks FMLA, then another 12 weeks of MAPFML. The two leaves will run concurrently.
Yes, you can use accrued paid time off during the waiting period for family leave benefits.
No, you cannot supplement but you can choose to use your earned paid time off in full day increments. Any rules applying to use of sick time for family members still apply to use of sick time for MA PFML family leave. MA PFML does not require employees to use earned time off but can choose to do so.
For the purposes of MAPFML family leave, family members include your spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, grandchild, grandparent or sibling, the parent of your spouse or domestic partner, and guardians who legally acted as a parent when you were a minor.
A child is a biological, adopted or foster child, a stepchild or legal ward, a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, or a person to whom the employee stood in loco parentis when the person was a minor child.
Intermittent leaves for a family member’s serious health condition can be taken based on the schedule your family member’s physician provided in the medical certification (e.g., flare-ups, scheduled appointments, reduced schedule).
No. You are only eligible for bonding leave during the first 12 months following birth. You should plan carefully, so that all your bonding leave is complete by your child’s first birthday. If you begin your leave one week before your child’s first birthday, you would only be eligible to take one week of leave.
Yes. Brandeis allows for intermittent bonding leaves, based on Manager approval. Managers and employees will work together to create a mutually agreed-upon schedule.
MAPFML separates the medical component of pregnancy from bonding. The medical certification from the treating provider will determine how much leave time is covered under personal medical leave (Brandeis MAPFML personal medical leave or STD) for recovery from birth, typically 6-8 weeks. After that leave ends you will be eligible to continue using family leave for the bonding benefit. There is no waiting period for the bonding portion when used right after the medical leave.
MPLA is another Massachusetts law that requires employers to provide 8 weeks of unpaid leave for the purpose of giving birth or for the placement of a child under the age of 18 (or under the age of 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled) for adoption. MPLA will run at the same time as MAPFML.
However, unlike MAPFML (as covered under the next two questions):
- MPLA leave applies for each birth. For example, if an employee has twins, they are eligible for 16 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave under MPLA.
- If two employees of the same employer give birth to or adopt the same child, the two employees are entitled to an aggregate of 8 weeks of leave.
No. Under MAPFML, the maximum amount of paid leave for bonding is 12 weeks. However, depending on your medical situation you could receive additional entitlement under the personal medical leave plan. The total combined benefit is 26 weeks.
MAPFML runs concurrent with other laws and, if eligible, you would receive a total of 16 weeks (for twins) of unpaid leave under MPLA and 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA.
Yes. Under MAPFML, both parents can take 12 weeks for bonding. You and your partner may choose to take family leave to bond with the child at the same time, or separately.
MAPFML runs concurrent with other laws and, if eligible, you would receive a total of 8 weeks of unpaid leave under MPLA and 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA combined for both parents
Under MAPFML, the maximum amount of time someone can be out and paid for is 26 weeks in a benefit year. For personal illness (bed rest), the maximum duration of time off and pay is 20 weeks, which would then leave you with an additional 6 weeks of time off and pay for bonding under MAPFML.
Family leave can be taken by a parent or legal guardian to bond with a child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
There are two types of family leave available if you have a family member who is, was, or will be deployed in a foreign country
You can take up to 26 weeks of family leave per year to care for a family member who is a current member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, who is:
- Undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious health condition that was received or aggravated while they were deployed in a foreign country
- In outpatient status for a serious health condition that was received or aggravated while they were deployed in a foreign country
- On the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness that happened while deployed in a foreign country
- On the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the member's active duty, and was aggravated by service while deployed in a foreign country.
You can take up to 12 weeks of family leave per year to manage any needs that take place immediately after a family member is deployed in a foreign country or has been notified of an upcoming deployment in a foreign country. These needs may include:
- Caring for a deployed family member’s child or other family member immediately before their deployment
- Making financial or legal arrangements for deployed family member
See Leave for Family Members of Active Service Members
- Attending counseling
- Attending military events or ceremonies
- Spending time with a deployed family member during a rest or recuperation period
- Spending time with a family member when they return from deployment
- Making necessary arrangements following the death of a family member who had been deployed
Your benefits will continue to be paid from Brandeis payroll.
: These frequently asked questions are based on our current understanding of MAPFML, its regulations, and The Standard’s administrative processes. Details are subject to change, and we will provide updated information as applicable.