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Massachusetts law about employment leave

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on the law of employment leave.

There are a number of types of employment leave available. Here you will find information on:

  • Domestic violence leave
  • Family and medical leave
  • Parental leave
  • Sick leave
  • Small necessities leave
  • Other types of leave


Domestic Violence

Massachusetts Law

St. 2014, c.260 Act Relative to Domestic Violence
Significant changes to domestic violence law, including provisions for time off work for victims and family members of abuse.

Web Sources

Attorney General's Advisory Concerning M.G.L. c. 149, s. 52E Employment Leave for Victims and Family Members of Abuse, Mass. Attorney General, 2014.
Provides an explanation of the law granting leave for victims of domestic violence, with guidance for employers.

Need to Take Time Off From Work to Deal with Domestic Violence?, Mass. Legal Help.
Explains who may take off and for what purposes under the 2014 domestic violence law.

Family and Medical Leave

Federal Law

29 USC 2601 et seq. Family and Medical Leave Act

Federal Regulations

29 CFR 825 Family and Medical Leave Act

Web Sources

Family and Medical Leave Act, U.S. Department of Labor
Includes links to law and regulations, forms, frequently asked questions and more

Clarification of the Definition of Son or Daughter: Administrator's Interpretation No.2010-3, US Department of Labor, June 2010
"The administrator interpretation issued by Nancy J. Leppink, deputy administrator of the department's Wage and Hour Division, clarifies that these rights, which provide work-family balance, extend to the various parenting relationships that exist in today's world. This action is a victory for many non-traditional families, including families in the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community, who often in the past have been denied leave to care for their loved ones."

Print Sources

Employee Leave and Accommodations Law in Massachusetts, MCLE, 2016

Massachusetts Employment Law, MCLE, loose-leaf. Chapters 21 and 22.

Parental Leave

Massachusetts Law

MGL c.149, s.105D. Law applies to all parents, men and women, whose employers have six or more employees. Under the law, parents are eligible for 8 weeks of leave per child. If both parents work for the same employer, they shall only be entitled to 8 weeks of leave in the aggregate for the birth or adoption of the same child. Leave may be with or without pay "at the discretion of the employer."

Massachusetts Regulations

804 CMR 8 MCAD Maternity Leave
Defines terms in maternity leave law. Includes a maternity leave form.

Massachusetts Cases

Global NAPS, Inc. v. Martha Awiszus, 457 Mass. 489 (2010)
"Female employees...are afforded rights under the MMLA when they are absent from employment 'for a period not exceeding eight weeks for the purpose of giving birth.'...MCAD Guidelines do not have the force of law, and, therefore, cannot be the source of a remedy for Stephens's termination from employment. An employee who is permitted to extend her maternity leave past eight weeks may have other rights that protect her from unlawful termination, but they are not statutory rights under G.L. c. 149, § 105D."

Web Sources

  • Guidelines on the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act, Mass. Commission Against Discrimination.
    Designed to "provide guidance to practitioners, employers, individuals and MCAD staff about how to interpret, apply and enforce the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act." Includes coverage of the new law which applies to both men and women.
  • Parental Leave Fact Sheet, Mass. Commission Against Discrimination.
    Provides a simple summary of the law, designed to be used as a poster in places of employment.

Sick Leave

Massachusetts Law

MGL c.149, s.148C and 148D. Employees who work for employers having eleven or more employees may earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, while employees working for smaller employers may earn and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.

Massachusetts Regulations

940 CMR 33,  Earned Sick Time

Web Sources

Earned Sick Time, Mass. Attorney General. Includes summary of the law, frequently asked questions, and more.

Small Necessities Leave

Massachusetts Law

MGL c.149, s.52D Small Necessities Leave Act

Massachusetts Regulations

940 CMR 20 Employee Leave for Certain Family Obligations

Web Sources

Print Sources

Massachusetts Employment Law, MCLE, loose-leaf. Chapters 22 and 23.

Other Types of Leave

Attorney General's Advisory on Vacation Policies, Mass. Attorney General, 1999
Provides guidance to employers on establishing appropriate policies for vacation time

Electronic Data Systems Corp. v. Attorney General & another, 454 Mass. 63 (2009)
"The Wage Act requires that an employer pay an employee for unused vacation time remaining at the time of the employee's involuntary discharge..."

Must employees be given time off work to vote?

Look at MGL c.149 s.178 . This law was originally passed in 1887, and has been modified ten times, the most recent being in 1913. The following is from Labor and Employment in Massachusetts: a guide to employment laws, regulations, and practices, 2nd edition, by Jeffrey L. Hirsch (Lexis, loose-leaf):

"Time Off to Vote
Massachusetts laws requires that employees who apply be granted a leave of absence to vote during the two hours after the polls open in their districts. Payment for voting time is at the discretion of the employer. Most employees have time to vote before or after work. One or two hours in most cases is the maximum time needed to vote. Employees should explain their reasons for needing more time and may also be requested to prove that they have voted by providing the name of the precinct where they cast their ballot."

Small Necessities Leave Act, Maternity Leave Act, and Other Miscellaneous Statutes Governing Time Off, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Includes many types of leave, including military, disability and more

Last update: January 19, 2018


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