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New Law Expands Parental Leave Rights in Massachusetts

This month, a new bill was signed into law that expands the scope of the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act. Below is a brief overview of how the Parental Leave Law may impact your business and its employees.

General Overview

Effective April 7, 2015, employers with 6 or more employees must allow eligible employees — regardless of gender — to take up to 8 weeks of parental leave for:

  • Giving birth;
  • The placement of a child under the age of 18 (under 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled) for adoption or intending to adopt; or
  • The placement of a child with an employee under a court order.

Such leave may be with or without pay at the discretion of the employer.

Employee Eligibility and Notice

  • In order to be eligible, an employee must have completed an initial probationary period of up to 3 months. If there is no such probationary period, the employee must be employed by the same employer on a full-time basis for at least 3 consecutive months.
  • The employee must give at least 2 weeks’ notice of the anticipated date of departure and intention to return (or provide notice as soon as practicable if the delay is for reasons beyond the individual’s control).

Employer Requirements

  • The employee generally must be restored to his or her previous (or a similar) position with the same status, pay, length of service credit, and seniority as of the date of the leave.
  • The parental leave must not affect the employee’s right to receive vacation time, sick leave, bonuses, advancement, seniority, length of service credit, benefits, plans or programs for which the employee was eligible at the date of the leave, and any other advantages or rights of employment incidental to his or her position.
  • Covered employers must post a notice describing the law and the employer’s policies related to the law.

Interaction With Other Laws

As your organization works to update its policies to reflect the provisions of the Parental Leave Law, it is important to keep in mind interaction with other laws.

For instance, this legislative bulletin from Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton notes that employers “subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) should make sure to indicate in their policies that leave taken under the Massachusetts Paternal Leave Law runs concurrent to leave taken under the FMLA“.

I hope that you find this brief overview helpful. Please contact the CBG Benefits team at 781-759-1222 for additional information.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.

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Posted in: Benefits and Insurance, Human Resources, Legislation

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