You’re Damned if You Don’t Prepare for the New Massachusetts Parental Leave Law

Posted: January 14, 2015 in Discrimination, Personnel Policy Fun

If you are a Massachusetts employer with six or more employees, effective April 2015 you must provide up to eight weeks of unpaid leave to a full time man or woman for the birth or adoption or court ordered placement of a child (previously, the law applied only to women).  So sharpen your pencils and get ready for yet another change to your employee handbook. There are also new procedures that an employer must follow if the employer wishes to limit the leave to eight weeks and retain the right to terminate the employee who does not return in a timely fashion. Larger employers will need to coordinate with the FMLA.  As an aside, you’ll also have to consider if pregnant employee has a pregnancy-related disability that may require an accommodation.

Governor Patrick signed amendments to the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act on his way out the door on January 7, 2015, which made these changes to the law.  In addition to including men, the amended law has provisions that provide broad protections for employees, and potential headaches for employers.  Employees will also be protected under the employment discrimination statute, Chapter 151B, which gives the parental leave statute teeth.

Employers will need to change their policies and post notices about the new law. Failure to follow its provision could result in significant liability.  As always, this information is general and not legal advice.

By Adam P. Whitney, Esq.

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