The Massachusetts legislature recently implemented legislation to assist victims of domestic violence with job protection when they require leave from work. The law applies to businesses employing 50 or more workers. It provides up to 15 days of leave during a 12 month period for employees who are victims of abusive behavior.
The leave can be used for the following situations:
- Medical care-giving;
- Psychiatric counseling;
- Securing a court protective order;
- Court appearances;
- Law enforcement meetings; and/or
- Any of these issues pertaining to abusive behavior against members of the employee’s immediate family.
Before taking this leave, the employee must utilize all available personal, vacation and sick leave. In addition, the employer maintains discretion in determining whether the leave is paid or not.
To prove eligibility for leave under this legislation, the employee must give the employer advanced notice when possible. If unplanned leave is taken under emergency circumstances, the employee’s lawyer, social worker or advocate must provide the employer with a written explanation within three days.
Employees must also provide supporting documentation to prove the existence of a domestic violence situation. This is accomplished with:
- A protective order;
- A police report;
- Medical documentation;
- A legal advocate; and
- Sworn statement from a counselor, social worker, shelter worker or clergy – signed under penalty of perjury.