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Massachusetts’ new parental leave law took effect on April 7, 2015. Until that date, the state’s maternity leave law required employers with six or more employees to provide eight weeks of unpaid maternity leave for childbirth or adoption. The new parental leave law expands on those provisions and changes employer obligations in the following ways:
The law is now gender-neutral. Both men and women are entitled to parental leave.
In addition to covering birth and adoption, the new law also covers placement of a child under a court order.
If two employees of the same employer give birth to or adopt the same child, the two employees are entitled to an aggregate of eight weeks of leave.
Employers must post notice of the law in a conspicuous place. Until now, the posting requirement only covered establishments in which females were employed.
Employers who agree to provide parental leave for longer than eight weeks must reinstate the employee after that extended leave unless they inform the employee beforehand that taking more than eight weeks will result in denial of reinstatement.
The new law covers all private sector employers in Massachusetts with at least six employees. Companies with 50 or more employees are subject to the obligations of both the state Parental Leave Law and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.
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