Massachusetts Domestic Violence Act

09/12/2014

Massachusetts passed the Domestic Violence Act which allows employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence to take up to 15 days of leave from work in any 12-month period to care for themselves or an eligible family member.  Employers with 50 or more employees are subject to this Act.

Employees should give their employer adequate advance notice unless they or a family member face imminent danger.  The leave must be used to address issues directly related to the abusive behavior.  These include seeking medical attention, counseling or victim services. Leave may also be taken to obtain legal assistance, to attend or appear in court proceedings, or to meet with a district attorney or law enforcement personnel.​  An employee should use all personal and vacation leave prior to using the time off allowed under the Act, unless an employer waives the requirement.  The employer also has the sole discretion whether the leave is paid or unpaid.  Under the Act, employers are prohibited from interfering with employees’ exercise of their right to take abusive behavior leave, and from discriminating against employees who take such leave.

Employers must notify employees of their rights and responsibilities provided by the Act.  The State may develop a Fact Sheet to explain what would satisfy this notice requirement.  In the meantime, employers can provide employees with a text of the Act and update their leave policies to reflect this new law.

If you have any questions, please contact your WGA’s Compliance Team info@WGAins.com.