I just wanted to send you a quick update on some changes to the current Massachusetts Maternity Leave Statute (MMLA) – G.L. Chapter 149, Section 105D. These changes go into effect April 7, 2015.
Please read your current contract language carefully, and examine your current practices in the workplace. They may already provide greater benefits than are available under the statute. For instance, some contracts provide for paid sick leave use during the time needed to recover from the birth of a child, while the MMLA does not require paid leave.
Also, keep in mind that while contract language may not have changed, many employers and associations have already been applying access to leave in a gender neutral way. Federal Law already prohibits discrimination and requires equal protection. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "[w]hen an employer does grant maternity leave, the employer may not deny paternity leave to a male employee for similar purposes, e.g., preparing for or participating in the birth of his child or caring for the newborn. Accommodating female but not male employees constitutes unlawful disparate treatment of males on the basis of gender." EEOC Compliance Manual, Section 626.6 on Paternity Leave. However, whether or not a non-childbearing parent is entitled to pay during the leave is something that must be collectively bargained.
For further information, please refer to the MTA website.