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The amount of time a new mother is entitled to take off work, known as maternity leave, varies by state, employer, and length of service. Maternity leave in Massachusetts is typically 12 weeks long and can be taken all at once or in two six-week chunks.
How long is maternity leave in Massachusetts?
The PFML in Massachusetts provides all parents with the same amount of time (12 weeks) to bond with their child, regardless of their gender. For the purpose of parental leave, a physician decides what constitutes medical necessity. Bonding time is 12 weeks, although the total leave time, including medical time, might be up to 20 weeks.
Unpaid Time Off During Pregnancy
Laws that mandate pregnancy leave and those that outlaw discrimination on the basis of pregnancy could both help you keep your job if you become pregnant.
Maternity and Medical Leave
Massachusetts law requires employers to provide up to eight weeks of leave, unpaid, to employees for the birth or adoption of a child. Employers with at least six employees must comply with this law, and employees are eligible for leave if they have completed the employer’s probationary period or worked for the employer for at least three months (whichever is shorter). Although this law used to provide only for maternity leave, it now allows parents of either sex to take time off.
In the event of the birth or adoption of a child, employees in the state of Massachusetts are entitled to up to eight weeks of unpaid leave from their employment. A business with six or more workers must follow these regulations, and workers who have been with the company for three months or have completed their probationary period are entitled for leave (whichever is shorter). This law originally exclusively covered maternity leave, but it has now been expanded to include paternity leave as well.
Employers are not required to provide pregnant workers with paid leave under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Employers are obligated to treat pregnant workers the same way they treat workers who are temporarily handicapped due to illness or injury. If your company already allows employees to take time off for temporary disability, such as cancer treatment or surgery, then it must also allow pregnant employees to take the same amount of time off.
Pregnancy discrimination is protected under Massachusetts law, which also forbids sex discrimination. State legislation, similar to the PDA, mandates that pregnant workers be afforded the same accommodations as other temporarily impaired workers. Contrary to popular belief, the federal PDA does not apply to businesses with fewer than 15 employees; rather, state of Massachusetts anti-discrimination law applies to such enterprises (those with at least six employees).
Unpaid Parenting Leave
Employees who have a biological, adopted, or fostered child are entitled to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This time off counts toward the maximum 12 week period of vacation time. If you take two weeks of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave during your pregnancy, you will have 10 weeks remaining to use for parenting leave.
This is also how the law regarding leave in Massachusetts operates. After giving delivery, you’ll be eligible for parental leave for as much as eight weeks.
Part-Time or Reduced Schedule Leave
If medically essential, FMLA leaves can be taken intermittently by employees. In the case of a prenatal checkup, for instance, you need not waste an entire day out of work; instead, you can take a few hours of FMLA leave and then return to your regular schedule.
However, policies on parental leave vary. Your company should be on board with you taking your parental leave in increments if you desire to do so. Your parental leave is not necessarily a continuous period of time off.
If your company allows you to take time off sporadically for parenting purposes, you must use all of your leave time within a year of your child’s birth.
Parents Who Work for the Same Employer
The maximum amount of FMLA leave for parenting that either spouse may receive from their workplace is 12 weeks if both spouses are employed by the same company. However, if you don’t spend all 12 weeks of your FMLA leave for parenting, you can use the time off for other reasons, such as a significant health condition.
It’s important to note that only married parents are subject to this restriction under the FMLA. However, in the state of Massachusetts, if two employees of the same company take parental leave for the same child, they must split the time off between them. Therefore, parents who are employed by the same company, whether they are married or not, may take a combined total of eight weeks off, rather than eight weeks for each parent.
Getting Paid During Your Time Off
Leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the Massachusetts Leave Law is unpaid. However, your employer may let or insist that you use accrued paid leave (such as sick days, vacation, or PTO) so that you can continue to receive pay throughout your absence. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, however, does not offer any temporary disability programs or paid family leave benefits.
However, businesses with 11 or more employees in Massachusetts must provide paid sick leave. Staff members are entitled to one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked, up to a maximum of forty hours off per year. Sick time can be used for either your personal illness or medical visits or those of a family member. Consequently, you can use your sick time for pregnancy-related reasons, such as being temporarily handicapped, going through pregnancy, or attending prenatal checkups or accompanying your spouse to medical appointments.
Additionally, your company may provide paid time off in the form of parental benefits, maternity and paternity leave, or short-term disability insurance. If you want to know what kinds of time off you can take from work, talk to your manager or HR department (or look in the employee handbook)!
What to look forward to during maternity?
First, a mother’s body will need time to recuperate from childbirth, which, depending on how it went, might take anything from a few weeks to a few months.
Second, new mothers can anticipate a period of sleep deprivation that will eventually even out, but not before the four months have passed. This is because it takes time for a mother’s internal clock to adjust to having a newborn around all day long, waking her up at various times throughout the night as she gets the hang of caring for a newborn.
Third, women may expect to lose some weight after giving birth; the amount varies from person to person, but it typically takes a new mother around six months to go back to her pre-pregnancy size and form.
It’s important for a pregnant woman to psychologically prepare herself for the physical changes she’ll experience, such as the appearance of stretch marks and the loosening of skin in places where there was previously more fat, such as the hips and thighs.
Some people don’t think about the physical changes that occur when a woman gives birth until they experience them for themselves, which can be extremely depressing if she is still trying to reach her healthy goal weight.
Massachusetts Parental Leave: A Background
However, there is good news for expectant mothers doing research in Massachusetts: the state boasts some of the most generous maternity leave policies in the country.
In an effort to be more welcoming to parents of all genders and sexual orientations, the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA) was amended in April 2015 to become the Parental Leave Act (PLA). While “maternity leave” and “paternity leave” are both prevalent, we will use the term “parental leave” throughout this article because leave benefits are not gender-specific.
Massachusetts passed a law guaranteeing workers access to paid family and medical leave (PFML) in 2018. Employees, covered individuals, and self-employed individuals are all subject to the PFML law as of its January 2021 implementation date. (Here is the complete text of the lawmaker’s bill.)
- Bonding with a child or newborn
- Attachment to a young infant or baby
- Living with a life-threatening illness
- Involvement in the care of a loved one who has a critical health condition (benefits for this scenario take effect in July 2021)
This new Massachusetts PFML statute replaces the Massachusetts PLA, which offered eight weeks of unpaid parental leave to employees, and is accessible for both maternity and paternity leave. Despite the fact that PLA may still apply in some situations, PFML is the primary safeguard because of the guarantees it provides with respect to continued employment and to the provision of benefits and the maintenance of a predetermined standard of living.
Employer Best Practices For Paternity & Maternity Leave In Massachusetts
Our companion piece on paternity leave in Massachusetts detailed four steps businesses should take to prepare for their workers’ absences. The best practices are summarized in the bullet points below, but we encourage you to read them in full here.
- Create a policy for parental leave far in advance of when it may be needed.
- Don’t deal with paternity leaves on an individual basis.
- Companies that offer parental leave (maternity and paternity leave) should demand notice of planned absences in advance.
- Do your best to stagger your leaves.
- Make sure you have the proper signage up notifying employees of their rights under the Massachusetts PFML.
What Employers Need To Know About Massachusetts-Specific Parental Leave & Contributions
Any company with one or more employees is required under PFML to make contributions on behalf of their employees and any covered persons.
Contributions on behalf of employees are required from businesses with fewer than 25 employees or covered individuals to fulfill the percentage of PFML contribution due from employees and covered individuals. Businesses in these industries are exempt from contributing their share toward family and medical leave.
- Contributions are calculated as 0.63 percent of earnings up to $128,400 per year. Employers must pay the entire payment to the government agency, although they can take money out of an employee’s paycheck to cover their portion.
- Contributions for 1099 workers (“covered individuals”) must be remitted in addition to employee contributions by businesses that issue 1099s to more than half of their workforce. If your company employs 25 people or more, you’re required by law to provide paid leave to eligible workers and their families.
Navigate & Manage Employee Leave With GenesisHR
Massachusetts’s maternity leave regulations may be expensive for businesses, but they have the added benefit of increasing employee satisfaction. However, as the Massachusetts PFML continues to develop, it poses challenges for employers in terms of both management and correct application of the applicable leave regulations. Furthermore, if an employer fires an employee within six months of the employee using PFML, the state can conclude that the employer is retaliating against the employee, increasing the employer’s risk of litigation and claims.
It might be difficult to manage different sorts of employee absences. Having a collaborator who is well-versed in the particulars of these rules and regulations is really helpful. GenesisHR, as your PEO, not only has experience in the dynamic field of parental leave, but also in benefits administration, payroll processing, and more.
We free you from the tedium of HR’s numerous administrative tasks so that you can focus on running your business.
How many weeks of paid maternity leave do I get with MA PMFL?
Legally, new parents can take as much as 12 weeks off work with pay.
Can I take leave for something other than a new baby?
Yes, qualified individuals may take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition and up to 26 weeks to care for a family member whose condition resulted from active military duty.
How do I qualify for MA PMFL?
It is possible to be eligible for MA PMFL if you work in Massachusetts but live in another state.
Is my spouse eligible for MA PMFL?
It’s possible that all new parents can get help from MA PMFL.
Do I need to use MA PMFL all at once?
Intermittent use of MA PFML leave is permitted.
Do I get paid leave if I foster, adopt or use a surrogate?
Yes. New parents in Massachusetts are subject to PFML.
Is leave pay taxed?
The question of whether or not leave compensation is subject to Massachusetts income tax was left unanswered by the legislation. Clarification on this matter is likely to occur in 2019.
What do I have to do to get paid? How am I paid?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts plans to launch its new Department of Family and Medical Leave sometime in April 2019. This office will maintain a webpage where interested parties can enroll in MA PMFL and select their preferred method of payment. Such resources are not available right now.
Are there annual or lifetime caps on the benefit?
The maximum lifetime number of MA PMFL uses is not specified. The maximum weekly amount is $850 for up to 26 weeks per calendar year.
Do I still receive my employer benefits while I’m on leave?
Can I lose my job while on leave?
Employees are shielded from unlawful retribution for taking leave under MA PMFL for six months after they return to work. This is true regardless of the size of your workforce.
Can I combine MA PFML and my company’s leave benefits to receive 100 percent of my salary?
Although companies are not compelled to compensate workers for time off in excess of what is provided by the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (MA PFML), some do so voluntarily. Make sure you know the company’s rules by inquiring about them.
Can I combine MA PFML and my company’s leave to get more weeks of maternity leave?
Companies are not compelled to go above and beyond what the MA PFML stipulates, yet some do so voluntarily. Make sure you know the company’s rules by inquiring about them.
Where can I get more information?
Read more about the MA PFML from the Bay State here.
How many weeks of paid maternity leave do I get with MA MMLA?
The MA MMLA provides for unpaid leave of up to 8 weeks.
How much will I be paid?
There is no assurance of financial support from the MA MMLA.
How do I qualify for maternity leave under MMLA?
You are eligible for MMLA if you have worked full-time for a company with at least six employees for at least three months, or if you have completed your probationary period, which can be less than three months but cannot be more than twelve months.
Can my spouse or partner qualify for MMLA?
With the passing of new legislation in 2015, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) expanded parental leave benefits to include non-birth parents and fathers. But if the other parent of the child also works for your company, you’ll have to split the maximum amount of leave (i.e. 8 weeks) between the two of you.
What are the notice requirements for MMLA?
At the very least, give your employer a two-week heads up before taking time off. However, if you are unable to do so for any reason (such as an unplanned early birth), you should inform your employer as soon as possible.
How to request maternity leave
You are entitled to maternity leave if you have worked for the company for at least 12 months prior to taking it and have given your employer two weeks’ notice of your intention to take leave and your expected date of return.
Requests for time off can be made verbally, but it’s always preferable to put them in timestamped writing (in the form of an email or electronic note) using unambiguous language that indicates the cause for leave.
The following details are required for your request:
- When you expect to take off is the crucial piece of information.
- How long you plan to be away from work.
- When you plan to get back.
Information that should be sent to your employer to let them know about your need for family leave or disability leave due to pregnancy.
It’s also a good idea to give your employer any details that can ease the transition into and out of your absence. For example, you may want to specify who will be responsible for your responsibilities while you are away.
What if I qualify for FMLA and MMLA?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees eligible workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to bond with and care for a newborn or newly adopted kid. About 40% of workers, however, do not qualify for FMLA because they are employed by a small business or because they do not have the required length of service (e.g. you must have worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer in the 12 months prior to your leave).
You may still be eligible for MMLA benefits even if you do not meet the requirements for FMLA. It is possible that certain workers will be eligible for benefits under both the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Maternity and Parental Leave Act. Since both the FMLA and the MMLA are in effect at the same time, you can use whichever one is more convenient for you.
Can I lose my job while I’m on leave? Do I still receive my benefits?
You are entitled to be reinstated to the same or a comparable position with the same or improved compensation, benefits, promotion opportunities, and other entitlements. Parental leave should not impair your ability to return to your previous position with the same level of seniority and benefits. Moreover, if your employer voluntarily grants you extended leave (beyond the 8 weeks), they must likewise follow the same benefits and job-restoration requirements had you simply taken the 8 weeks you were entitled to.
Special Provisions for Boston City Employees and Other Public Sector Employees
New parents are eligible for paid leave from their jobs at the City of Boston, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Treasurer’s Office of Massachusetts. During the first year following the birth or adoption of a child, city employees in Boston are eligible for up to 6 weeks of paid leave. The amount they receive is proportional to their basic wage and their vacation time. The first two weeks of a 6-week leave period are paid at 100% of the employee’s regular income, the third and fourth weeks at 75% of the regular salary, and the remaining two weeks at 50% of the regular salary. Working for the City of Boston for at least a year is a prerequisite for participation.
If you work in the Treasurer’s Office, you can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption, or care of a foster child. Additionally, you will be eligible for up to 26 weeks of unpaid absence. One must have worked for the company for a minimum of six months before being considered. If you work for the Attorney General’s office, you’ll get 30 days off without pay within the first year after the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. In order to qualify, you must have worked for the Attorney General for at least three months. Both male and female candidates are welcome to apply for either position.
If you work for the state of Massachusetts (other than the Attorney General’s Office of Treasurer’s Office), then you will use MMLA.
What if I have other questions?
If you work for the state of Massachusetts (other than the Attorney General’s Office of Treasurer’s Office), then you will use MMLA.
What happens when I get pregnant in Canada?
Except for the Attorney General’s Office and the State Treasurer’s Office, all state of Massachusetts employees are required to utilize MMLA.
How do you count days of maternity leave?
Maternity leave may begin on the day of birth in specific situations. In some countries, like Canada, a pregnant woman must take six weeks off work before her extended health insurance benefits begin to cover her during her pregnancy.
What is the recommended maternity leave?
Due to the diversity among families’ priorities and requirements, there is no universally accepted suggestion for the duration of maternity leave.
When adopting a kid rather than having another biological one, some businesses may ask their employees to take paternity leave for a longer period of time than the typical one week.
Women in Canada are eligible for paid maternity leave for up to 18 weeks from the time of birth, and may continue their leave without pay if they so choose. The duration of this can change based on factors such as employer policy, local regulations, and individual desire…
What happens once you stop receiving your benefit payments?
Have you completely lost access to those funds? If your partner claims them first, what does it imply about your relationship? Before filing for parental leave, you probably haven’t given much thought to the above issues.
If both parents complete the eligibility requirements and have worked for the same employer for at least 13 weeks prior to the commencement of parental leave, they can take a total of 35 weeks off together.
When your eligibility period ends, you will receive any benefits that were not claimed by your spouse or domestic partner. This reimbursement would be made within two to four weeks of your return to work following parental or maternity leave.
Are there any disadvantages?
One potential drawback is that rising costs for businesses could lead to lower wages for employees.
How much maternity pay will I get with Paid Family Leave Insurance?
If my workplace does not offer paid family or medical leave, what other choices do I have for taking time off to care for my newborn?
How long can parental or family leave last in Pennsylvania?
Three months at full pay and six weeks at half pay are available for parental or family leave. Additionally, during the first calendar year after a child’s birth or adoption, either parent may take as many unpaid leave days as they require.
When can paternity/family leave starting in Pennsylvania?
However, businesses have the right to ask workers to use up any earned paid leave before granting paternity or family leave, which begins on the day a child is born or adopted.
How do I get paid while on FMLA leave?
Pay must be maintained for up to 12 weeks if an employee is taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
How many weeks of maternity leave do some companies provide after having their baby in Pennsylvania?
Twelve weeks of maternity leave is offered by some companies.
What is the difference between maternity and parental leave?
Both parental and maternity leave are available to employees after the birth or adoption of a child.
How do you qualify for maternity pay?
You must have worked for your current company for 26 weeks prior to the qualifying week in order to be eligible for maternity leave pay.
Who is eligible for maternity/paternity in Pennsylvania?
To qualify for family or parental leave, an employee must have worked at least 1000 hours and 52 consecutive weeks in the prior year.
Does Massachusetts have paid maternity leave?
Most workers in Massachusetts can get up to 26 weeks of paid leave for family and medical reasons in a single benefit year. Taking care of a family member who is seriously ill, injured, or expecting a child, as verified by a medical professional (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)
Does Ma FMLA cover maternity leave?
The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the state of Massachusetts’ parental leave statute both provide working mothers and fathers the right to unpaid leave during pregnancy, childbirth, and the early months of parenthood.
Can I collect unemployment while on maternity leave in Massachusetts?
Unemployment. If you were laid off on maternity or paternity leave due to “good cause,” you may be eligible for unemployment insurance. Many new parents need to stay home from work well past the time when they are permitted to do so legally.
How much does FMLA pay in MA?
Eighty percent (80%) of the employee’s share of the State’s average weekly wage (SAWW) that is equal to or less than fifty percent (50%) of the employee’s share of the SAWW; Benefits will be paid at a rate of up to the maximum weekly benefit, plus 50% of the employee’s average weekly pay above 50% of the SAWW.