Massachusetts recently enacted new legislation related to domestic violence.
The new law, which was effective immediately when signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Aug. 8, impacts some employers in the Commonwealth. Under this law, employers with 50 or more employees must provide up to 15 days of leave during any 12-month period if the employee, or a family member of the employee, is a victim of “abusive behavior.” This includes domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, and kidnapping, and the employee is using the leave to: (1) seek or obtain medical attention, counseling, victim services, or legal assistance; (2) secure housing; (3) obtain a protective order from a court; (4) appear in court or before a grand jury; (5) meet with a district attorney or other law-enforcement official; (6) attend child-custody proceedings; or (7) address other issues directly related to the abusive behavior.
An “employee” is broadly defined as an individual who “performs services for and under the control and direction of an employer for wages or other remuneration.” This means that the law applies to any employee whether he or she is full-time or part-time and regardless of how many hours he or she works. There is also no requirement that an employee work for a particular period of time before becoming eligible to take leave.
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