On August 8, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law An Act Relative to Domestic Violence. In relevant part, Section 13 of the law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 15 days’ leave in any 12 month period if 1) the employee or family member of the employee is a victim of abusive behavior; and 2) the employee is using leave to seek medical attention, counseling, victim services or legal assistance, to secure housing, obtain a protective order, or appear in court as related to abusive behavior against the employee or a family member.
The leave is not available if the employee is the perpetrator and may either be paid or unpaid. Employees must provide advance notice if possible, and if not possible, within 3 working days after taking leave. Despite this provision, there is a provision that basically gives the employees 30 days after the fact to bring in documentation requested by the employer where there is an unscheduled absence. Employers can require that employees exhaust PTO first.
There is a requirement that employers notify employees of their rights and responsibilities, but there is no specific poster contemplated by the statute. Nor is there any indication that annual notice is required. Employers could satisfy the notice obligation either by creating a posting or by giving employees and new hires a copy of a notice of rights and responsibilities.
In any case, this part of the law is immediately effective so covered employers should take immediate steps to provide notice to employees and to insure that leave is provided when requested.