Time Off and Other Benefits

Reviewed March 2019 - Greater Boston Legal Services

Massachusetts workers have five different laws to help balance the demands of work and life better. The laws give us the right to take time off from work:

  • to deal with domestic violence,
  • for the birth or adoption of a child,
  • to take care of seriously ill family members,
  • to recover from our own serious illnesses,
  • or to take care of routine family responsibilities.

Each law covers different conditions and different employers.

  1. The Massachusetts Act Relative to Domestic Violence provides employment leave for victims and family members who have suffered domestic violence.
  1. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives covered workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family and medical reasons. If you are a covered worker (see Does this law apply to me?) you might ask your employer for FMLA leave so you can care for:
    • your newborn
    • your newly adopted child
    • a seriously ill family member, or
    • yourself if you need to recover from a serious illness.
  1. The Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (MPLA) allows covered workers of any gender to take up to eight weeks of unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child.
  1. The Small Necessities Leave Act (SNLA) allows covered workers to take up to 24 hours per year off from work to go to their child’s education-related school activities, or to accompany a child or elderly relative to medical or dental appointments.
  1. Beginning in January of 2021, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML) will allow covered workers to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid family leave a year to bond with a new child. The law also provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid family leave to care for a loved one with a serious health condition (up to 26 weeks if the serious health condition resulted from active military duty); and 20 weeks of job-protected paid medical leave to address your own serious health condition, including medical complications from pregnancy, birth or postpartum recovery.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Other Resources

The Massachusetts Attorney General also provides information on vacations, including information on time off and voting.

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