Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA)

November 2, 2020
Ramona Allen, Vice President for Human Resources |

Dear Colleagues,

The Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) becomes effective on January 1, 2021. Under this law, employees are entitled to paid leave—at a rate set by a state formula—for serious health conditions and certain family reasons. Details on the law, and the changes that MIT is making in response to it, are available on the Human Resources website.

Rather than opting into the state-run PFMLA plan—which requires employers and potentially employees to pay a tax, and for employee leaves to be administered by the state agency—MIT will directly provide, fund, and administer PFMLA leaves for all eligible employees. Most of MIT’s current sick and family leave benefits already comply with the PFMLA. We will be expanding our leave benefits in certain respects where the state law requires longer leave periods or extends paid leave benefits to certain categories of employees who are not currently eligible for our benefits. We are also making additional changes to ensure that our leave policies are equitable, practical to administer, and understandable. These changes will require updates to our systems and processes for administering paid leave, including how sick leave is accrued and recorded. Most of these changes will take effect on January 1, 2021.


To ensure compliance with the state paid leave law and efficient administration of our resulting leave benefits, MIT has contracted with a leave administration vendor for campus employees. This vendor, Workpartners, will work with employees and managers to ensure that employees are informed of their rights and options if they take a leave for a serious health condition, and also to ensure that leave time is properly tracked. Leaves at Lincoln Laboratory will continue to be managed by their HR administrators.

Technical Change in Calculating Leave Time Under the FMLA

As a result of the new state law, MIT will also implement a technical change in the way the leave period under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is calculated. MIT is required by law to inform you of this change in the calculation period before it is effective. More information about how leaves will be calculated going forward is available on the Human Resources website.

Future Communications

Human Resources will send out several communications over the next two months to update you on the specific policy changes and provide more detailed information. Please stay tuned: many of your questions will be answered in these materials, or on the Human Resources website. Questions may be directed to If you are planning a leave in early 2021, we encourage you to contact your Human Resources Officer as soon as possible.


Ramona Allen
Vice President for Human Resources