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Why Choose a Fully Insured Private Plan?

Paid Family & Medical Leave is a state-mandated benefit in Massachusetts; and employers automatically default to the State Fund for their coverage unless they have chosen to provide their employees the coverage through a private plan and taken all the necessary steps to obtain a private plan exemption from the Massachusetts Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”).

So why choose a fully insured private plan? Insurance carriers have built expertise and scalability around administering and paying claims. This focus may bring other advantages such as faster claims turnaround and dedicated claims service – potentially resulting in a better insurance experience for employees.

ShelterPoint* provides a compliant, thoughtful, and efficient stand-alone private option for your Paid Family & Medical Leave needs.

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Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave Private Plan Exemptions

Massachusetts employers automatically default to the State Fund for their state-mandated PFML coverage unless they choose a private plan, file a private plan exemption application with the Massachusetts DFML, and obtain approval from the DFML of their private plan exemption. Exemptions may be filed on a quarterly basis and may begin only on the first day of any calendar quarter (January 1, April 1, July 1, or October 1). It is important to apply for the exemption as early in the quarter as possible to allow time for the exemption approval before the quarter ends.


Key Dates to Remember


  • 1st Quarter
  • 2nd Quarter
  • 3rd Quarter
  • 4th Quarter

1st Quarter

Deadline for Quarterly Application Exemptions - March 31.

Exemption Approved as of - April 1.

2nd Quarter

Deadline for Quarterly Application Exemptions - June 30.

Exemption Approved as of - July 1.

3rd Quarter

Deadline for Quarterly Application Exemptions - September 30.

Exemption Approved as of - October 1.

4th Quarter

Deadline for Quarterly Application Exemptions - December 31.

Exemption Approved as of - January 1.


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PFML Expert Tip:

It’s important to remember that you will need to renew your Private Plan exemption every year!

How to Apply For a Private MA Paid Family & Medical Leave Plan

For your timing and planning, keep in mind that Private Plans can only be made effective on the first day of a quarter, i.e. the first of the next quarter after approval. The application process may vary depending on the insurance carrier. Here’s how it works at ShelterPoint:


Step 1 – You and your broker

Provide your broker with the information they need to request a quote. Most carriers will have similar information requirements in order to provide your broker with a quote. But, for ShelterPoint specifically, please provide the following information about your group through your broker:
  • Your company’s full information, including full legal name, address, and SIC code.
  • Census with employees working at your MA location(s) who are eligible for PFML (more details on employee eligibility in the section below):
    • Gender
    • Employment status (full-time, part-time, or 1099ers)
    • Date of birth (DOB)
    • Total Wages
  • Include part-timers who meet the eligibility requirements.
  • If more than 50% of your workforce are on a 1099-basis, you need to include them as well.
  • Desired effective date
If needed, we may require additional information.

Step 2 – ShelterPoint

Based on your information, we will provide a proposal.

At ShelterPoint, after you have accepted the proposal, we will provide an application for coverage. We will also prepare the Confirmation of Policy Form Number Form, prefilled with your information/benefit details and signed by us, which you will need to provide to Massachusetts DFML as part of the Private Plan Exemption application.

Step 3 – You

You, the employer, counter-sign the “Confirmation of Policy Form Number” Form.

Then, through your MassTaxConnect account (, submit your Private Plan Exemption Application, which includes uploading the Confirmation of Policy Form Number Form.

Here are the State’s official step-by-step video and instructions for applying for an exemption.

Step 4 – Massachusetts DFML

Massachusetts DFML may reach out with questions while reviewing your application in detail through e-messages on your MassTaxConnect Account.

Should they have any questions, your broker and our team of experts can help you with the response.

Step 5 – You and Your broker

Your broker will then need to provide us with a copy of the exemption approval and completed ShelterPoint application for coverage to issue the Paid Family & Medical Leave policy.


It’s important to remember that you will need to renew your Private Plan Exemption every year!

Time flies! So we will remind you when it’s time for the renewal and help guide you through that process.**

**ShelterPoint Life is under no legal obligation to provide employers/policyholders with a reminder to renew their annual private plan exemption with the DFML, and ShelterPoint Life assumes no responsibility or liability for failure to issue any such reminder notice to an employer/policyholder, nor does it guarantee the accuracy of the information provided in any such reminder notice. It remains the sole responsibility of the employer/policyholder to remain independently informed of their private plan exemption renewal date and to timely file a renewal of its private plan exemption as set forth in, and in accordance with, any and all MA PFML laws and regulations.


If you are an employer, please contact your broker to get the ball rolling. Brokers are welcome to reach out to us directly with any questions they may have at We look forward to working with you!

Why Choose ShelterPoint* for MA Paid Family & Medical Leave?

Our decades of experience in similar state-mandated coverages – like State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave^ – have made us a specialist in these products.

As an approved Private Plan carrier in Massachusetts, we welcome the opportunity to help MA employers based on our deep understanding of related, state-required insurance.

As a result, more than 196,000 NY employers with 2.0 million^^ employees trust us to help them strike the right balance between coverage and cost to comply with state regulations and complete their benefit equation.

We excel at navigating uncharted waters and are able to quickly and successfully adapt to new market conditions, so you can trust that ShelterPoint will bring you a thoughtful and efficient stand-alone Private Option for your Paid Family & Medical Leave needs.

This includes guiding you on what administrative actions you need to complete for an exemption – we help make the switch to our Private Plan easy.


^ Applies to ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company only.

^^ Based upon ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company DBL/PFL policyholder and certificate holder count as of 12/31/23.

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MA Paid Family & Medical Leave
Frequently Asked Questions About Private Plans

How do I notify my employees about the Private Plan?

Regardless of if you have a private plan or not, there are two requirements for notifying your employees about PFML benefits.
  1. Hang the mandatory workplace poster, which you can download from the DFML site here.
  2. Provide written notice about the PFML law and available benefits (as outline in M.G.L. 175M sec. 4) and obtain acknowledgement of the receipt of the notice (or a statement indicating the employee’s refusal to sign such acknowledgement) from all your employees. Go here for full details about notification requirements and what is required in your written notification, along with a template to use.

How does a Private Plan impact my Paid Family & Medical Leave “tax”?

When you are approved for a Private Plan exemption, you would pay your premium to your private carrier instead of paying a “tax” into the State Plan. In either case, it is still up to you, the employer, how much of the premium or “tax” you want to withhold from your employees to fund their Paid Family and Medical Leave, as long as you do not exceed the maximum employee contribution which is capped at 0.46% of eligible wages up to the wage base limit established annually by the Social Security Administration.

How do deductions work with a Private Plan?

If you’re switching to a Private Plan, you won’t receive any prior payments to the State Plan back from the State, but you won’t need to make any further contributions to the State Plan once your Private Plan exemption is approved. And, you won’t start paying premium until your Private Plan becomes effective, because Private Plans don’t need to fund the PFML benefit upfront.

Read more about MA Paid Family Leave Premium and Deductions here.

Learn More About MA Paid Family & Medical Leave

With decades of experience in helping keep people INSURED,
rest ASSURED: you have found the specialists you can turn to.

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*The ShelterPoint family of companies operates under the “ShelterPoint” name strictly as a marketing name, and no legal significance is expressed or implied. The ShelterPoint family of companies consists of ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company, a NY-domiciled carrier, and its wholly-owned subsidiary ShelterPoint Insurance Company, a FL-domiciled carrier, depending on the state. ShelterPoint is a registered service mark.

Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave is available in MA only and will be underwritten by: ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company (a New York-domiciled carrier): Policy Form# SPL PFMLP 0820 MA.

The information in this material is based on our knowledge of the current MA Paid Family & Medical Leave law and regulations. If the Department of Family & Medical Leave revises the regulations, adopts new policies or if the law itself is amended, we will update this document. This document is not intended to be and should not be construed as legal advice. Employers are encouraged to consult employment law counsel for legal advice.


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