Can employer deny an eligible employee paid maternity leave?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can employer deny an eligible employee paid maternity leave?

My employer offers the benefit of paid maternity leave after a 2 year probationary period of employment. I am eligible for this benefit, however my employer started she will not pay out the benefit if I cannot garauntee

coming back to work. It has also been said that if the benefit is paid out and I choose not to return I will be forced to pay that benefit back. I work in MA and I’m aware of the family leave act of unpaid leave so I am

unsure of benefit responsibilities if I am eligible.

Asked on January 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can do this. The law does not require paid leave; paid leave is voluntary on the part of employers. It being voluntary on their part, they can put terms and conditions on it, including that you must return to work after the leave or else will have to repay it. Consider it from their point of view: why should they voluntarily pay someone for several weeks or more if that person will take their money and leave?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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