MCAD’s Fresh Take on the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act: What You Need to Know


(Last Updated On: September 26, 2023)

parental leave act photo of woman

In the fast-paced world of employment law, keeping up with the newest updates can be a real challenge. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) recently released new guidelines on the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (MPLA), adding more details that both employers and employees need to get a handle on, which may lead to confusion or misunderstandings. Rodman Employment Law is here to shed light on the updated guidelines.

A Closer Look at the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act 

Before unpacking the new guidance, it’s essential to revisit the foundational principles of the MPLA. This act entitles eligible employees to up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, applicable to workplaces with six or more employees. It advocates for gender equality in parental responsibilities, ensuring that all employees, regardless of gender, have access to this leave. 

5 Key Takeaways from MCAD’s New Guidance 

Here are 5 elements of MPLA that MCAD’s new guidance emphasizes compared with its previous guidance. 

  1. Definition of “Two Consecutive Work Weeks”: The new guidelines have clarified the term “two consecutive work weeks,” stipulating that it refers to a period of 14 consecutive days starting from the first day of the planned leave. This clarification removes any ambiguity that might have existed previously regarding the calculation of the leave period. 
  1. Clear and Detailed Written Leave Policies: Employers are now encouraged to develop detailed written leave policies. These policies should clearly outline the procedures for requesting leave, thereby promoting transparency and averting potential disputes. This is a step forward in ensuring that both employers and employees are on the same page regarding leave entitlements and procedures. 
  1. Employee Education on MPLA Rights: The new guidelines stress the importance of informing employees about their rights under the MPLA. This is aimed at ensuring that employees can effectively plan their leave without any hitches, fostering a smoother transition during periods of parental leave. 
  1. Inclusion of Gender-Neutral Language: To promote inclusivity and gender equality, the new guidelines advocate for the use of gender-neutral language in all parental leave policies. This change reflects a broader societal shift towards recognizing and respecting diverse gender identities as they celebrate their new roles as parents. 
  1. Clarification on the Use of Paid Leave: The new guidelines offer clarity on the utilization of paid leave, stipulating that employers can mandate the use of up to two weeks of paid leave as part of the parental leave. This adjustment helps in delineating the boundaries of paid and unpaid leave under the MPLA. 

The Mutual Benefits of Adhering to the MPLA Guidelines 

Compliance with the MPLA not only meets legal requirements but also fosters a nurturing work environment. For employers, it means cultivating a workplace that values the well-being of its employees, potentially enhancing job satisfaction and retention rates. For employees, it signifies a supportive atmosphere where their significant life events are acknowledged and respected. 

Your Partner in Employment Law: Rodman Employment Law 

At Rodman Employment Law, we understand that the complexities of employment law can be daunting for both employers and employees. Our team of experienced attorneys is here to assist, offering expert advice and assistance in understanding and adhering to the MPLA and other pertinent employment laws. Whether you are an employer establishing corporate policies or an employee seeking to understand your rights better, we are here to help. Contact Rodman Employment Law at 617-820-5250 to tap into our wealth of legal knowledge.

More articles