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MA PFML Update: Intermittent and Reduced Schedule Leave Requirements

Change to Intermittent and Reduced Schedule Leave Requirements under Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (MAPFML)

The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) recently sent out an email that discussed the requirements of intermittent and reduced schedule leaves. Under prior guidance, the minimum increments of time that an employee would be allowed to take leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis could be dictated through the leave policies of the employer.

This allowed the employer flexibility to structure the benefit to suit the needs of the employer. The employer could also align their policy with the requirements under FMLA, if applicable.

The recently revised guidance from the DFML applies to intermittent and reduced schedule leaves taken for the employee’s own serious medical condition or for qualifying exigency leaves. For medical leaves, this rule would apply in the case of leave for an employee’s own medical condition, the condition of a covered family member, or a covered family member who has a condition related to their military service. For these types of leaves, the minimum increment when taking intermittent leave may not exceed one hour. The rule will apply in this manner for both public and private plans. The DFML will default to allowing leaves in 15-minute minimum increments for employers. With that in mind, it is important for employers who wish to use a higher minimum (up to a maximum of one hour), to address the intermittent usage specifically through employment policies. Further, employers subject to FMLA should ensure their intermittent usage aligns with MAPFML increments (up to a maximum of one hour) to allow for concurrency of the leaves.

This new guidance does not impact intermittent and reduced schedule leave for family leave or for the purpose of bonding. The employer is still able to set a minimum increment of their choosing through their company policy. It is important to note that this form of family leave may be taken on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule only if the employer and employee mutually agree on the designated schedule.

For an employee to receive financial benefits for an intermittent or reduced schedule leave, either the employee must accumulate a minimum of eight hours of leave time, or more than 30 calendar days must lapse since the first instance of leave occurred.