July 10, 2014
The Honorable Robert A. DeLeo
Speaker, House of Representatives
State House, Room 356
Boston, MA 02133
Re: S865, An Act Relative to Parental Leave
Dear Mr. Speaker:
The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts (WBA) is writing to express strong support for S865, An Act Relative to Parental Leave. S865 passed the Senate unanimously on October 24, 2013, and we urge you to bring this very important bill to the House floor for debate and passage prior to the end of this session.
The WBA supports S865 because the legislation will benefit families across the Commonwealth. The bill amends the current Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA) to clarify that fathers as well as mothers are covered by the statute and are entitled to leave at the birth or adoption of a child. This is the current practice of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). The bill also closes a loophole in the statute by providing notice to employees if their use of additional leave beyond what the statute provides would result in a forfeiture of statutory rights. According to a recent survey by Boston College Center for Work and Family, most fathers take only one day of leave to bond with a new baby for every month the average mother takes. Clarifying father’s rights to take leave will be good for fathers, mothers and families here in Massachusetts.
By amending the law, S865 ends the uncertainty that currently exists as to whether men as well as women are covered by the statute, thus providing much needed clarity for employers as well as employees in the Commonwealth. For this reason, the bill has very broad support from the business community as well as labor and employees. The bill is supported by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) as well as the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and Greater Boston Legal Services. The WBA is a professional association of women attorneys and judges, with approximately 1,600 members from across the Commonwealth. The WBA urges you to bring this bill to the floor for debate and passage.
Thank you for your consideration.
Thanks to Our Corporate Partners