On July 31, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill that would require employers to offer paid time off to recover from a serious health condition or to care for a newborn child or sick family member. The bill’s passing in the Senate signifies growing support for paid family leave in the state.
The bill would require employers to offer employees up to 16 weeks of paid family and medical leave, and up to 26 weeks of temporary disability leave, along with protecting employees who use leave time. Employees who return from leave must be restored to their prior position or a similar one, and must maintain their previously accrued vacation and sick time, bonuses, and other benefits.
Senator Karen Spilka, a supporter of the bill, argues “no one should have to choose between a paycheck and caring for a new child or sick relative.” Business owners are more apprehensive about the bill, due to its largely unknown costs that will affect all businesses if and when employees take advantage of new paid-leave rules.
If the bill becomes law, Massachusetts will be following other states that have passed paid family and medical leave laws, such as California, New Jersey, and New York. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where it will be voted on in the near future. We will be monitoring updates and developments during this process and will keep clients informed of developments.