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Mass. Parental Leave Act (PLA)

Mass. Parental Leave Act (PLA) replaces the Maternity Leave Act (MMLA) to add Paternity and other new provisions

Key terms and conditions about PLA that you need to know:

  • PLA is effective April 7, 2015 for all Mass. Employers with 6 or more employees,
  • Requires equal treatment of male and female employees,
  • Provides up to a minimum of 8 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for full-time employee-parents:
    • o   At the time of childbirth or adoption, and
    • o   When a child is placed pursuant to a court order.
  • Important nuances of the law that you also need to know include:
    • o   Employees cannot be required to use accrued sick, vacation or other paid time off (PTO) during this time although they may voluntarily elect to do so.
    • o   Should both parents be employed by the same company, the same 8 week minimum leave will concurrently apply to both.
    • o   Employee date of eligibility cannot exceed three months from date of hire, with or without a probationary period.
    • o   If you do not intend to permit such a leave to extend beyond 8 weeks, you must notify your employee, in writing, before the leave begins. Failure to do so may automatically extend the leave beyond 8 weeks.
    • o   Employees desiring such a leave must provide you with at least two weeks’ advanced written notice, or as soon as practicable, if such notice is beyond the employee’s control.
  • For employers with 50 or more employees who come under the Family Medical Leave Act, the 8 weeks leave covered under the PLA may be counted concurrently with the first 8 weeks of the FMLA’s 12 week leave period.
  • You must be sure to post proper notice of employee rights and your company’s policy under the PLA at all job locations.
  • You need to be sure to update your policies and procedures and effectively communicate with and train all those in a position to have any impact on the proper administration of the PLA at your company.
  • Employees on approved PLA leaves must be restored to the same or similar position with the same status, pay, seniority, and other such conditions as existed for the position held prior to going out on leave.
  • Should there be a layoff due to economic or operating conditions during an employee’s leave, job protections of the PLA will not apply to such employees if it is determined that they would have been so affected if they had not been on leave. However, the employee must retain any preferential consideration for another position, the same as they may have had prior to taking a leave.
  • Nothing in the PLA is meant to affect any bargaining agreement or company policy that provides for greater or additional benefits beyond the PLA.