Advisory on Vacation Policies

Employers who choose to provide paid vacation to their employees must treat those payments like any other wages under M.G.L. c. 149, s. 148. Withholding vacation payments is the equivalent of withholding wages and, as such, is illegal. Employees must be paid for all earned vacation upon termination of employment.

Employers can protect themselves by adopting clear and unambiguous vacation policies that comply with the law. The AGO urges employers to give employees copies of their written vacation policy at the beginning of employment and to have each employee acknowledge in writing his or her understanding of the policy.

In 1999, the Attorney General's Office issued, "An Advisory from the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division on Vacation Policies" (1999/1), putting forth the AGO's understanding of the laws surrounding vacation policies.

To view the Advisory:

Time Off to Vote

Under Massachusetts law, an employer must give an employee up to two hours off to vote if their employee requests it. The employee does not have to be paid for this time but should be allowed a two-hour absence after the opening of the polls in the employee's voting precinct.

The law ( M.G.L. c. 149, s. 178) reads:

Chapter 149: Section 178 Leave of absence from work for voting

Section 178. No owner, superintendent or overseer in any manufacturing, mechanical or mercantile establishment shall employ or permit to be employed therein any person entitled to vote at an election, during the period of two hours after the opening of the polls in the voting precinct, ward or town in which such person is entitled to vote, if he shall make application for leave of absence during such period.