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Attorney General Clarifies Domestic Violence Leave Law

Posted on October 28, 2014

The Massachusetts Attorney General today clarified several questions that AIM-member employers have recently posed about the state’s new domestic leave law.

The measure, which took effect on August 8, provides up to 15 days of leave to victims of domestic violence who work for companies with 50 or more employees. The employee must first exhaust all annual or vacation leave, personal leave and sick leave already available prior to requesting or taking leave under the Law, unless the employer waives this requirement.

The “50 or more employees” provision caused particular confusion for employers who were uncertain whether it referred to total worldwide employees or solely those based in Massachusetts.  The attorney general’s guidance document makes clear that an employer must have 50 or more Massachusetts employees to be covered by the law.

AIM commends the attorney general for resisting intense pressure from advocacy groups to extend the law to any employer with 50 or more employees anywhere in the world. Such a broad interpretation would have meant that a Boston startup with 47 total employees would not be covered under the law, but a Rhode Island company or even a company from Ireland with 500 employees worldwide but only five in Massachusetts would be covered. 

AIM supports the domestic violence leave law and has worked through seminars, Webcasts and roundtables to help employers understand it.  The attorney general’s guidance document will help employers assist workers who find themselves in the middle of a domestic violence incident.