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New law grants unpaid maternity or paternity leave

In Massachusetts, men who are becoming new parents have just had a law passed that can help them spend time with their newborns. Instead of just women getting maternity leave, fathers will now be able to get unpaid paternity leave, too.

This doesn't just apply in cases where a man is married or having his own child. In fact, even those adopting a child can get unpaid time off to spend with their new child. This law begins to take effect on April 7, 2015.

So, what are some of the restrictions? The Family and Medical Leave Act entitled those employees who are part of businesses with over 50 employees to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. On top of this, the employee must have been with the company for over a year and must have worked 1,250 hours or more with the company before the leave will be allowed.

This movement in Massachusetts may prompt other states in the United States to comply as well, although few do at present. Only 12 percent of employers offer paid paternity leave, which this law does not force business owners to provide. This number has also been decreasing since 2010, which is a troubling trend.

Over the last several years, a push for paid maternity and paternity leave has been on the rise. Providing the leave for men or women would allow both parents time with their child at an early age and allow one parent to keep working while the other can stay home. If the leave was paid, parents would have to worry less about money and could spend more time focusing on their child.

Source: Human Resource Executive Online, "New Leave Laws for New Dads," Mark McGraw, April. 01, 2015

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