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Posted on November 15, 2022
The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) recently issued its annual report for Fiscal Year 2022. What were the trends?
This marks the first complete year of operation for the DFML, so it is hard to compare numbers from last year and this year except in the most generalized terms. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, the program was operational only for six months and PFML did not yet include family leave to care for family members with a serious health condition.
The number of total claims filed in 2022 was 140,038. Of that total, 112,531 were approved and 27,507 were denied. The total denials constitute just under 20% (19.64%) of all claims filed with the agency.
Medical leave for the employee’s own serious health condition is the most common form of benefit request (59%) The second most requested benefit was family leave to bond following the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child (just more than 30%).
Requesting time off to care for a family member with a serious health condition constituted just over 10% of all claims.
The final two categories involve military related leaves, which constituted half of .05% of all claims filed.
Of the 19.64% of benefit applications denied, most were denied because the applicant could not show eligibility (for example, the employee was covered by a private plan, had insufficient earnings, failed to meet the financial eligibility test or applied more than 26 weeks late).
The other major category was failure to provide the necessary documentation, which was broken down into two categories. The employee did not submit required documents, or the documents submitted did not comply with DFML requirements
These two groups alone represented 84% of all the denied applications.
The other major group was applications that were filed more than 90 days after their leave began.
The most common age cohort for benefits is 31 to 40 years old (approximately 32,000 approved applicants). This is consistent with the results from last year’s report. The categories 21 to 30, 41 to 50 and 51 to 60 each had approximately 12,500 approved applicants.
Women constituted almost 61% of all approved applications. Men received approximately 35% of all approved applications. This is slightly less than the 2-to-1 majority women had last year. Since applicants are not required to disclose gender, a small percent of applicants listed unknown, prefer not to answer or indicated that they identified non-binary.
The median response time for employers is 2.75 calendar days. The initial determination is made within 17 days, and final determinations are made within 37 days.
AIM members with questions about PFML or other human-resource matters may call the AIM Employer Hotline at 1-800-470-6277.