Violence Victims To Win Time Off

By Sarah Birnbaum

Jan. 13, 2012

BOSTON —  The Massachusetts state senate passed a bill on Jan. 12 to extend workforce protection to domestic violence victims.

The bill would require businesses to give up 15 days of unpaid leave to victims of domestic violence. It’s aimed at helping victims get time off to go to court or to move into safe housing without worrying about losing their jobs. 

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Cynthia Stone Creem, D-Newton, says small businesses would be exempt and the leave would only cover certain situations. 

“The time off could only be used to take important certain actions directly related to the crime, such as obtaining a court order, seeking medical attention, and counseling and meeting with law enforcement, or securing safe housing.”

The bill passed 34 to nothing with Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth voting present.  He says he’s concerned the measure could be bad for businesses.

“I’m not sure if this will help Massachusetts businesses when large companies look to relocate and consider our state that this is just another in a long list of mandates that we require upon businesses.”

Under the bill, employees must use up all their sick days and vacation days first, and they must show proof that they are victims of domestic violence in the form of a court order, a police report, or medical documents. 
The measure now moves to the House.

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