October 13, 2019

October 11, 2019

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Massachusetts Veterans May Be Entitled to Paid Leave on Veterans Day

Massachusetts employers are reminded that, per legislation signed by Governor Charlie Baker in July 2016, qualifying veterans scheduled to work on Veterans Day who wish to participate in Veterans Day activities in their communities may be entitled to paid leave from their employers to do so. The legislation, officially titled An Act Relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment or the HOME Act, amends a prior law that only required employers to grant veterans unpaid leave to participate in Veterans Day and Memorial Day activities provided they gave their employers “reasonable notice.”

The amendment requires that employers with 50 or more employees afford time off with pay for participation in Veterans Day (but not Memorial Day) activities. The law applies to any person with an honorable discharge who served in any branch of the U.S. military and to some individuals who served full time in the National Guard

Notably, the HOME Act also made veteran status a protected classification under state discrimination laws. Previously, only active military servicepeople were considered protected. State law now prohibits discrimination in employment and in housing on the basis of a qualified veteran’s prior military service. 

As Veterans Day approaches on November 11, 2017, Massachusetts employers, particularly those with 50 or more employees, may want to review with managers of veterans the requirements of the Home Act in terms of time off to participate in Veterans Day activities, and ensure their payroll and employment practices comply with the law’s requirements.

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About this Author

Mark Burak Ogletree Attorney Massachusetts

Mark Burak has specialized in the representation of employers in labor and employment matters for nearly 25 years. Mr. Burak’s practice focuses on defending employers in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. Mr. Burak has successfully handled cases involving virtually the entire spectrum of employment related laws, with a particular emphasis on discrimination laws and wage/hour matters. He has tried several cases successfully to conclusion and obtained dismissals or summary judgment on scores of claims.

Mr. Burak devotes a...

Todd Torres, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Employment Litigation Attorney

Todd Torres is an associate in the Boston office where he focuses his practice on employment litigation.  He offers advice and provides representation before both state and federal courts as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.  Mr. Torres’s experience includes the defense of discrimination claims arising under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Equal Pay Act, as well as wage and hour violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Massachusetts tipped employee statute.  In addition to issues concerning employee privacy and drug testing, Mr. Torres has significant experience with both Massachusetts and Rhode Island state employment laws and has drafted and reviewed numerous employee handbooks for compliance with the laws and regulations of both states.