Paternity Leave – Now the Law in Massachusetts
On April 7, 2015, Massachusetts updated the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA), (Massachusetts General Laws c. 149, § 105D) to include time off for Fathers. Now Fathers will also be afforded up to eight (8) weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, and the placement of a child in their home under the age of eighteen.
In order to take such leave, a Father needs to be a “Qualified Employee” under the terms of the act. To be a “Qualified Employee” the employee needs to have passed a probationary period (not to exceed three months). The employee needs to provide their employer with at least two weeks advanced notice of the intent to take the leave under the MMLA (although the Act does allow for less time if the delay is for reasons that are beyond the employee’s control).
After returning to work a Father’s benefits cannot be reduced as a result of the leave and their position must be restored to the same or similar position. Another caveat that new parents should be aware of is that if both parents are at the same job they are limited to a combined eight weeks of time off.
There are other exceptions and limitations to the MMLA that may apply to your situation as well. If you have any questions regarding the new requirements under the MMLA, you can contact Attorney Daniel J. O'Connell or Attorney Sarah A. Ornelas at 413-733-9111.