Massachusetts law about unemployment

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on unemployment law.

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

Best bet

How to appeal your unemployment benefits denial to the court, Mass. Legal Services.
Explains how to appeal a final decision of the Board of Review. Appendix M includes a sample complaint for judicial review. See also the 2023 Unemployment Advocacy Guide.

What to do if you’ve become unemployed in Massachusetts, Mass. Dept. of Unemployment Assistance.
Explains what you need to do and when. You can also check your eligibility for unemployment benefits and use an online calculator to help you estimate how much you may receive.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.151A Employment and training

MGL c. 149, § 52C Personnel records; review by employee; corrections; penalty
Access to employee personnel file for unemployment insurance purposes.

MGL c.151A, § 30 Total unemployment benefits for the year

MGL c.152, § 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 benefits are 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 unemployment 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 cases

Web sources

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can I get unemployment benefits if I quit my job? Mass. Legal Help, 2023.

Can I get unemployment benefits if I was fired from my job? Mass. Legal Help, 2023.

Has the DUA asked you to return money they paid you?, MassLegalHelp, 2023.
If the Department of Unemployment Assistance says that you were overpaid, you can challenge the decision, or the amount of the overpayment. Even if you agree that you were overpaid, you may not have to pay it back if you meet certain conditions.

How do I get an extension of my unemployment benefits? Mass. Legal Services, Feb. 2023.  
The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) supports unemployed workers who need training to get work.

Additional web sources

Apply for unemployment benefits, Mass. Dept. of Unemployment Assistance.
You should apply for unemployment benefits during your first week of total or partial unemployment. Most claims are processed within 21-28 days after filing. It may take longer if there is an issue with your claim.

Board of Review decisions, Mass. Board of Review.
The Board decides unemployment appeals from hearings conducted by the Department of Unemployment Assistance. Only selected, key opinions are posted by the Board and updated on an on-going basis.

DUA adjudication handbook, 2020 ed. Mass. Legal Services.
Covers eligibility and determinations of unemployment benefits in great detail.

Employer responsibilities during the unemployment claims process, Mass. Dept. of Unemployment Assistance.
As an employer, learn about what you can do to promote an effective unemployment benefits claims process.

A guide to benefits and employment services for claimants, Executive Office of Labor & Workforce Development, June 2023.
Includes an overview of your rights and responsibilities, help in finding a job, how benefits are determined, contact information and more.

Learn about tax treatment of unemployment compensation, Mass. Dept. of Revenue.
Find out how unemployment benefits are treated for tax purposes in Massachusetts.

MassHire JobQuest, Executive Office of Labor & Workforce Development.
A free online service of the state to help you search for and find a job.

The need to leave work: your rights as a domestic violence survivor, MassLegalHelp, February 2023.
Brief analysis of unemployment benefits eligibility when domestic violence forces you to leave your job.

Report unemployment benefits fraud, Mass. Dept. of Unemployment Assistance.
If you believe someone is using your identity to falsely claim unemployment benefits, learn how to report the fraud and what to do to protect yourself.

Unemployment advocacy guide, Mass. Law Reform Institute, 2023.
PDF version of the well-respected book, which covers eligibility, receiving benefits, the appeals process, sample complaint, sample forms and more.

Unemployment insurance for employers, Mass. Dept. of Unemployment Assistance.
Explains requirements, information and responsibilities of unemployment insurance for employers. Includes the downloadable Employer’s guide to unemployment insurance.

Print sources

Employment law, 3rd ed. (Mass Practice v. 45) West Group with supplement. Sections 17.11 – 17.19. Unemployment benefits.

Labor and employment in Massachusetts, by Jeffrey Hirsch, 2nd ed., Lexis Law Publishing, loose-leaf. Chapter 19.

Massachusetts employment Law, 5th ed., MCLE, 2020. Vol. 2, chapter 33, with supplements.

What to do about personnel problems in Massachusetts, Business and Legal Reports, loose-leaf, under heading "unemployment compensation."

Contact for Massachusetts law about unemployment

Last updated: September 25, 2023

Help Us Improve Mass.gov with your feedback

Feedback