Massachusetts Maternity Leave: Your Rights and Overview

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The Masachusetts Maternity Leave Act (or MMLA) gives qualifying women and men up to 8 weeks of job-protected leave for the birth or adoption of a child under the age of 18.

How Do I Qualify for Maternity Leave Under MMLA?

If you have worked at a company with at least 6 employees for at least three consecutive months as a full-time employee or exceeded your probationary period (if such a period exists at your employer) which can be less but cannot be longer than three months, you are eligible for MMLA.

Do Both My Spouse / Partner and I Receive Leave Under MMLA?

Recent amendments (in 2015) to MMLA make fathers and non-birth parents eligible for parental leave. However, if you work for the same employer as the other parent of the child, then the maximum amount of leave (i.e. 8 weeks) must be shared by both employees.

What Are the Notice Requirements for MMLA?

You must tell your employer at least 2 seeks in advance of your intended leave start date and intended date of return. If you cannot for some reason do this, e.g. due to an emergency and unforeseen early birth, you can simply tell your employer as soon as practical.

What If I Qualify for FMLA and MMLA?

FMLA is a federal law requiring that eligible employees are provided with up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to bond and care for a new baby or adopted child. However, approximately 40% of employees do not qualify for FMLA due to working for a small employer or otherwise not meeting tenure requirements (e.g. you must have worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer in the 12 months prior to your leave).

However, just because you don’t qualify for FMLA does not mean you cannot take advantage of MMLA. Some employees will find they qualify for both FMLA and MMLA. If that describes your situation, you may use FMLA in lieu of MMLA, as both run concurrently.

What Rights Do I Have When I’m On Parental Leave Under MMLA?

You have the right to be restored to your previous (or similar) position with the same pay, benefits, advancement, benefits or other rights you previously had. The seniority and benefits you would have received had you not taken parental leave must not be affected simply because you have taken parental leave. Moreover, if your employer voluntarily grants you additional leave (beyond the 8 weeks), then they must also follow the same benefits and job-restoration rules had you simply taken the 8 weeks you were entitled to.

Please note that while we are not attorneys, we've summarized what we could find from publicly available sources regarding your leave rights as a Vermont employee.

Special Provisions for Boston City Employees and Other Public Sector Employees

The City of Boston, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the Massachusetts Treasurer’s office have all offered paid leave to their employees who have become parents. In Boston, city employees will receive up to to 6 weeks of paid leave during the first year after the birth or adoption of a child. The pay they receive is based on a sliding scale of how much time they get off and is pegged to their salary. Employees are paid at their full salary for the first two weeks of their leave, followed by 75% for the third and fourth weeks of their leave and 50% of their salary for the final two weeks of their 6 week leave period. To be eligible, city employees must have worked for Boston for at least one year.

At the Treasurer’s Office, you will receive u pro 12 weeks of paid leave for a birth, adoption or care of a foster child. You will also get up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave. To qualify, you must have worked for at least 6 months. At the Attorney General’s office, you will receive 30 days of full paid leave within the first 12 months of a child’s birth, adoption or placement in your care of a foster child. You must have worked at least 3 months for the Attorney General in order to qualify. In both offices, men and women both qualify.

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?

Please review the Massachusetts State Maternity Leave Guidelines and note that while we are not attorneys, we've summarized what we could find from publicly available sources regarding your leave rights as a Massachusetts employee.


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