Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
FACT SHEET: PARENTAL LEAVE
Under federal and state law, certain employees may take an unpaid leave from work at the birth or adoption of a child. Federal and state law may also allow a pregnant woman who develops a serious health condition to take an unpaid leave of absence if her doctor certifies the need for such a leave.
Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act, M.G.L. c. 149, § 105D, allows a female employee to take up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave at (1) the birth of a child, (2) the adoption of a child under 18 years old, or (3) the adoption of a person under 23 years old who is mentally or physically disabled.
Eligibility: To be eligible, the employee must have worked for the employer in a full- time position for at least 3 months or finished a probationary period (which cannot exceed 6 months), and the employer must employ at least 6 employees. The employee must give the employer 2 weeks notice of her departure date and notice that she intends to return to her job.
Job restoration: Under most circumstances, the employer must restore the employee to her job or to a reasonably similar position with the same status, pay, length of service credit and seniority.
Male employees: Because state and federal law prohibit sex discrimination in employment, male employees may have a right to take the same 8 weeks of leave a female employee is entitled to take at the adoption of a baby, and to take a certain amount of leave at the birth of a child.
The MCAD enforces the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act. If you think your employer has violated this law, contact the MCAD.
Family & Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, is a federal statute that allows eligible male and female employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave at the birth or adoption of a child.
Eligibility: To be eligible, your employer must have 50 or more employees; and you must have worked for your employer for 12 months and at least 1,250 hours in the prior year.
Job restoration: The employer ordinarily must restore you to the same or equivalent job when your FMLA leave ends.