Maternity Leave

Mad Skillz, y0.
Image by Jenny Leigh via Flickr

If you live in Massachusetts you may have noticed the recent ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that no longer guarantees a woman’s job after 8 weeks of maternity leave.

In the past most companies would allow up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, using the  federal Family and Medical Leave Act as a guideline.  This federal guideline would also allow for absences to care for sick relatives, however, it only applied to companies with more than 50 employees.  Basically your small business was on its own under the federal law.

As you can probably imagine, this ruling has sparked some real debate over what companies should do.

How do you feel about this?  Should a company allow for 12 weeks when the law is now only for 8?

I think it is a very tricky situation.  On one hand you want happy employees and let’s face it, allowing a mom or dad to stay home with their baby for a little bit longer time makes for a happier parent/employee.  As a parent, there is no way I want my child going to daycare after 8 weeks.

Yet on the other hand as a small business owner myself, I can see where having employees out for long periods of time can be devastating.

Many other countries offer huge maternity leave times with many of them paying full salary for up to 7 months in certain cases.

According to a study from the  Center for Economic and Policy Research, there are only 2 countries out of the top 21 high income countries that offer no paid parental leave.  Yep, we are one of them.

If I had to offer paid leave, as well as pay someone else to temporarily do their job, I would not be able to hire anyone.

This is for sure a sticky situation, please share your feelings below by commenting.

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