As of July 31, 2014, Massachusetts’ new Domestic Violence Leave Law requires employers with 50 or more employees to give up to fifteen days of leave in any twelve month period to domestic violence victims.

The Domestic violence bill (S853)  allows an employee up to fifteen days of leave if they themselves or a member of their family are subject to domestic violence, provided the employee is not the perpetrator of the crime.The leave must be used to address domestic violence issues, such as meeting with law enforcement or district attorneys; attending child custody proceedings; seeking medical assistance or counseling; securing housing; or other issues directly related to the abusive behaviour against the employee or the employee’s family member. The employer can decide if the leave is paid or unpaid.

Similar to FMLA, employees must request the leave if advance, unless there is an imminent danger. In the case of scheduled leave, the employee must provide the same amount of notice as is required by their employers other leave policies. In the case of unscheduled leave an employee, or employees representative must notify the employer within three working days.

In addition to its workplace provisions, it creates new criminal offenses relative to domestic violence, boosts domestic violence prevention efforts and provides support to domestic violence victims and their family members.

Note that this leave law is in addition to, and not an addendum to, Massachusetts Victim of Crime law which is for employees who have been a victim of a crime or have been subpoenaed to attend court as a witness.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

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