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Chicopee Chamber Presents Employment-law Seminar March 18

CHICOPEE — Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., a labor- and employment-law firm serving the Greater Springfield area, announced that attorney John Gannon will address attendees of the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce Lunch & Learn on Wednesday, March 18 from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hampton Inn, 600 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Massachusetts-based businesses are working to revise policies based on two new leave laws that will take effect this year.

Registration for the event can be completed online at chicopeechamber.org. Chamber members receive a discounted rate of $15 per person, while non-members can attend for a registration fee of $23.

“The new parental- and sick-leave laws should have employers questioning company policies,” said Gannon. “It’s imperative that policies and procedures are updated — including new language for handbooks — to stay in compliance of the law. I encourage both Chicopee Chamber members and non-members to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about both laws that will impact business this year.”

Specifically, Massachusetts has a new parental-leave law that will go into effect April 7. Under existing state law, new mothers are entitled to take up to eight weeks of unpaid leave to care for the new child if they work for organizations with six or more employees. Under the new law, signed by former Gov. Deval Patrick just before he left office, unpaid leave is now afforded to male employees as well as females.

Additionally, Massachusetts has a new sick-leave law that will go into effect July 1. The law entitles employees to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time each year if they work for businesses with 11 or more employees; those working for companies with fewer than 11 employees will be entitled to earn up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave.

Attendees will learn what the laws require, how leave is earned, when employees can begin to earn this time and when they can use it, what happens to earned leave at the end of a calendar year, what sick and paternal leave can be used for, whether advanced notice is required for leave, and what employers can require regarding documentation for leave.

Gannon joined Skoler Abbott in 2011, practicing in the firm’s Springfield office. He has defended employers against claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wrongful termination, as well as actions arising under the Family Medical Leave Act and wage and hour law. He also has experience with lawsuits seeking to enforce restrictive covenants and protect trade secrets. He is a regular contributor to business publications and to the Massachusetts Employment Law Letter. He also is a frequent speaker on employment-related legal topics for a wide variety of associations and organizations, including appearances on CBS 3 Springfield and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

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