Massachusetts law about unemployment

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on unemployment law.

Table of Contents

Best bets

DUA Service Representatives Handbook, 2009 ed. Mass. Legal Services
Online version of book covers eligibility and determinations in great detail.

Unemployment Advocacy Guide, Mass. Law Reform Institute, 2016
Online version of the well-respected book, covers eligibility, receiving benefits, the appeals process, sample forms and more.

Unemployment Benefits for Workers, Mass. Department of Unemployment Assistance
Covers Eligibility, Benefits, Filing or Reopening a Claim, Medical Security Program (MSP), Taxes, Issues with Claims, Disqualification due to the receipt of remuneration, Direct Deposit, General Unemployment Questions, and Assistance with Job Search.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.151A: Employment and Training

MGL c.152 s. 36B: Effect on Worker's Compensation Eligibility

Massachusetts regulations

430 CMR Department of Employment and Training

801 CMR 1 Adjudicatory Rules of Practice and Procedure

Note: Unemployment compensation is included as a source of income in the Child Support Guidelines

Federal laws

26 USC 3301 et seq. Federal Unemployment Tax Act

42 USC 503 Requirements for State Laws

Federal regulations

20 CFR 640 Promptness Standard for Benefit Payment

20 CFR 650 Promptness Standard for Benefit Appeals

45 CFR 302.65 Withholding of Unemployment Compensation for Child Support

Selected case law

Crane v. Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Training, 414 Mass. 658 (1993)
Employee bears burden of proof that he left for good cause attributable to employer.

DiGiulio v. Director of Dept. of Unemployment Assistance, 94 Mass. App. Ct. 292 (2018)
Under  MGL c. 151A, § 25 (e), a claimant is not eligible to collect unemployment where their reason for leaving their job was to accompany a spouse who had been relocated.

New England Wooden Ware Corp. v. Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Training, 61 Mass. App Ct. 532 (2004)
Policy must be precise in language and uniformly enforced

Norfolk County Retirement System v. Director of the Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development, 66 Mass. App. Ct. 759 (2006)
Urgent and compelling reasons to quit

Ocean State Job Lot of Hyannis, Inc. v. Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Training, 61 Mass. App Ct. 1116, 810 NE2d 1290 (2004). (Unpublished opinion)
Employee violated written rule, but fact that conduct was approved by supervisor was relevant in establishing that claimant did not intentionally and knowingly violate rule.

Still v. Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Training, 423 Mass. 805 (1996)
The term "knowing violation" implies some degree of intent and mitigating circumstances alone will not negate a showing of intent or thereby excuse a "knowing violation."

Tri-County Youth Programs, Inc. v. Acting Deputy Director of the Division of Employment and Training, 54 Mass. App. Ct. 405 (2002)
Discrimination and harassment.

Board of Review Decision BR-703301 (2014)
Where an employer does not allow a quitting employee to work during the course of the employee’s two-week notice given, the employee is not disqualified from collecting unemployment benefits for those two weeks from the date of notice to the date of quitting.


Citizens Guide to State Services: Unemployment Compensation
Provides contact information for a variety of state agencies involved in unemployment compensation issues.

Department of Labor
JFK Federal Building
Boston, MA 02203

Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance
19 Staniford Street
Boston, MA 02114

Web sources

Board of Review Decisions. Selected decisions 2005-date, Board of Review
The Board decides unemployment appeals from hearings conducted by the Department of Unemployment Assistance. "The Board of Review decisions available on this website have been selected for posting because, in the Board’s opinion, they contain significant issues, create new precedent, or may provide useful guidance to parties and their representatives."

A guide to benefits and employment services for claimants, Mass. Dept. of Workforce Development, October 2014
Includes an overview of your rights and responsibilities, help in finding a job, how benefits are determined, contact information and more.

Guide to Personal Income Tax: Unemployment Compensation, Mass. Department of Revenue.

Has the DUA asked you to return money they paid you?, MassLegalHelp.

How Do You Appeal to the Court?, Mass. Legal Services.
Explainshow to appeal a final decision of the Board of Review. Appendix M includes a sample complaint for judicial review.

How to File Your Initial Claim, Mass. Department of Unemployment Assistance
Everything you need to know to file your first claim.

Massachusetts JobQuest, Executive Office of Workforce Development
A Free online service of the state to help you search for and find a job.

Questions and Answers on Unemployment, Mass. Legal Services.

UI Online, Dept. of Unemployment Assistance

Unemployment Insurance and Domestic Violence, Mass. Legal Help. Brief analysis of unemployment eligibility when domestic violence forces you to leave your job.

Unemployment Insurance for Employers, Mass. Dept. of Unemployment Assistance
Explains requirements, information and responsibilities for employers.

Your Responsibilities as an Employer: Unemployment Insurance, Mass. Department of Revenue.

Your rights in the workplace , Nolo, 2018. 
Chapter 11: Unemployment "provides information about unemployment insurance or unemployment compensation such as some specific state nuances on unemployment insurance programs run jointly by the federal government and the states. It also discusses disqualifying behavior and filing a claim." Requires library card for access.

Print sources

Labor and Employment in Massachusetts, by Jeffrey Hirsch, Lexis Law Publishing, loose-leaf, chap. 19.

Massachusetts Employment Law, MCLE, loose-leaf.
Vol. 2, chapter 33.

Massachusetts Practice, vol. 45 (Employment Law) West Group, with supplement, sec. 15.11 – 15.19.

What to do About Personnel Problems in Massachusetts, Business and Legal Reports, loose-leaf, under heading "unemployment compensation".

Your Rights on the Job , 5th ed., by Robert M. Schwartz, The Labor Guild of Boston, 2008.


Last updated: November 6, 2018


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