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Massachusetts Domestic Violence Leave

Policy Statement

Pursuant to Massachusetts law, WNE will provide up to fifteen (15) days of annual job-protected leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence or for an employee to assist a family member who is a victim of domestic violence.

Reason for Policy

WNE is committed to the health and safety of its employees and their families. This policy outlines guidelines for employees when taking domestic violence leave.   

Who Is Governed by this Policy

Faculty, Staff, and Student Employees


The Massachusetts Domestic Violence Act serves to help victims of domestic and sexual abuse to stay safe and receive appropriate accommodation from law enforcement agencies, healthcare professionals, and from employers. The University will permit any employee who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence (or who has a family member who is a victim) to take up to 15 days of unpaid leave from work in any 12-month period, as long as the employee is not the perpetrator of the violence. For purposes of this policy, a family member includes:

  • Legally married spouse;
  • Persons "in a substantive dating or engagement relationship" AND who reside together;
  • Persons having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or resided together;
  • A parent, step-parent, child, step-child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild; or
  • Persons in a guardianship relationship.

As with FMLA, the University will use the “rolling” method to calculate the number of days available within the 12-month period. The employee must exhaust any sick, earned, or vacation time balances prior to using the unpaid time off allowed under the Act.

Victims of domestic violence are entitled to leave for any of the following reasons: to seek or obtain medical attention, counseling, victim services, or legal assistance; secure housing; to obtain a protective order from a court; to appear in court or before a grand jury; to meet with a district attorney or other law enforcement official; or to attend child custody proceedings or address other issues directly related to the abusive behavior against the employee or his/her family member.


Employees who wish to take leave under the Domestic Violence Act to care for themselves or an eligible family member should provide the University adequate advance notice unless the employee, or the family member of the employee, faces imminent danger. An employee who does not give advance notice must notify the University within three workdays that the leave was being taken under the Act’s leave provisions. Notice can also come from counselors, social workers, health care workers, clergy, shelter workers, legal advocates or another professional who has assisted the employee in addressing the effects of the abusive behavior on the employee or the employee’s family member.

Employees must provide documentation of the domestic or sexual violence. Acceptable proof can take the form of a protective order or other court documentation; a statement from a provider or public agency that supports the need for leave, a police report or victim or witness statement; documentation of the result of court proceedings against the perpetrator of the abusive behavior; medical documentation of treatment for the abuse; a sworn statement from a counselor, social worker, health care worker, member of the clergy, shelter worker, legal advocate or other professional who has assisted the employee or the employee’s family member in addressing the effects of the abusive behavior; or a simple sworn statement from the employee attesting that they have been the victim of abusive behavior or is the family member of a victim.

Any sworn statement used to prove eligibility must be signed under the penalties of perjury. Employees who take an unscheduled absence for reasons protected under this Act have 30 days to provide proof of their need for leave to the University. 

Employees who take leave under the Act will not lose any employment benefit accrued prior to the date on which the leave was taken and are entitled to be restored to their original jobs or to an equivalent position. Leave under the Massachusetts Domestic Violence Act should be coordinated through the Office of Human Resources. 

Other Resources

The University recognizes that victims of domestic violence may need access to other types of resources and services in addition to leave. A comprehensive list includes, but is not limited to: 

  • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP): (800) 225-2527 or (800) 252-4555, 
  • Western New England University Health and Well-being and Counseling Services: 413-782-1211
  • 24/7 Crisis Line: 413-310-5389
  • Western New England University Department of Public Safety
    • 413-782-1411 (emergency)
    • 413-782-1207 (non-emergency)
  • Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA: 413-794-0000
  • Mercy Medical Center, Springfield, MA: 413-748-9000
  • YWCA of Western Mass.: TTY: 413-733-7100, Hotline: 800-796-8711, Office: 413-732-3121,
    • Provides help to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and to their families, counseling, job training, skill development, and support and shelter in a crisis

Document History

Policy Origination Date: July 31, 2023

Who Approved This Policy

Associate Vice President of Human Resources


Associate Director of Human Resources
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