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January 14, 2015
Massachusetts Expands Leave for Birth or Adoption of a Child to Male Employees

Governor Patrick, as one of his last acts in office, signed into law an amendment extending statutory parental leave benefits, which had previously only been available to full-time female employees, to full-time male employees.


Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 149, Section 105D provides 8 weeks of leave for the purpose of giving birth or for the placement of a child under the age of 18, or under the age of 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled, for adoption.  Employees are eligible for such leave after completing a probationary period of up to 3 months or, if no such probationary period exists, after completing 3 consecutive months of full-time employment.  An employee must provide two weeks' notice of the anticipated date of departure and his intention to return.  Employers must also reinstate employees taking leave under Section 105D to their position or a similar position upon return from leave.  Leave under Section 105D may be paid or unpaid at the employer's discretion.


In addition to expanding the coverage of Section 105D to male employees, the amendment also expands the circumstances under which leave is available.  As amended, Section 105D will entitle an employee to parental leave for the placement of a child with the employee pursuant to a court order.


In the event an employee is allowed to take more than 8 weeks of leave, the employer must provide the employee written notice if the employee will not be reinstated or afforded other rights under Section 105D because the employee took more than 8 weeks of leave.


The amendment also clarifies that any two employees of the same employer are limited to a total of 8 weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of the same child.


Finally, in addition to posting a copy of Section 105D, as has been required, employers will be required to post a copy of any policies related to Section 105D.


The amendments to Section 105D go into effect on April 7, 2015.


In light of the changes to Section 105D, employers are advised to review and update their leave policies as necessary.


Please contact any member of the Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits Group if you have any questions about the parental leave law or any other labor, employment or employee benefits issue.


Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits Group  

Mirick O'Connell

100 Front Street

Worcester, MA  01608

t 508.791.8500

f 508.791.8502


1800 West Park Drive, Suite 400

Westborough, MA  01581

t 508.898.1501

f 508.898.1502


Mirick O'Connell is a full-service law firm with offices in Worcester, Westborough and Boston, Massachusetts.  The Firm's principal practice groups include Business;
Construction Law; Creditors' Rights, Bankruptcy and Reorganization; Elder Law; Family Law and Divorce; Health Law; Intellectual Property; Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits; Land Use and Environmental Law; Litigation; Personal Injury; Public and Municipal Law; and Trusts and Estates.
This client alert is intended to inform you of developments in the law and to provide information of general interest.  It is not intended to constitute legal advice regarding a client's specific legal issues and should not be relied upon as such.  This client alert may be considered advertising under the rules of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.