This question about Maternity Leave came from one of my Massachusetts HR HelpLine clients. The answer applies to Massachusetts’ companies only, but everyone will find the interpretation of the law interesting, to say the least.
Client Question: One of our employees is pregnant with twins and is expected to deliver in September. She told us her doctor is concerned about her high blood pressure and may want her to begin her leave in June. How much leave will she be entitled to?
Answer: This is a bit complicated because we must consider both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA). (Note: this employee met all the eligibility requirements for both leave laws)
If the doctor puts her out on leave for the high blood pressure in June, she would qualify for a FMLA leave because she has a serious health condition, high blood pressure. She would be entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks unpaid leave. Potentially, if the condition did not improve she could be out until the birth of the child in September, exhausting her entire FLMA leave.
Upon the birth of the twins, she would now be entitled to leave under the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act. Massachusetts’ law provides 8 weeks of maternity leave for giving birth. However, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) has ruled that an employee who gives birth to twins has given birth two times and is entitled to eight weeks of leave for each child or 16 weeks in total.
So this employee may be eligible for 12 weeks of FMLA for her serious health condition, plus 16 weeks of MMLA leave for the birth of her twins, or a total of 28 weeks of unpaid leave.
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