NEW LAW: New Requirements For Leave For Veterans In Massachusetts

On November 7, 2018, Massachusetts’  “BRAVE Act” (An Act Relative to Veterans Benefits, Rights, Appreciation, Validation and Enforcement) goes into effect.  This law changes an employer’s obligation  to grant leave to veterans on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

Under the old law, which went into effect in 2016, employers were required to grant veterans time off on Veterans Day and Memorial Day to participate in an exercise, parade, or service in their community.  For employers with 50 or more employees, this time off was to be paid.

Under the new law, employers are required to provide Veterans with time off for  Veterans Day and Memorial Day as follows:

Veterans Day:  Employers are required to provide a Veteran employee with time off, if requested by the Veteran employee,  to observe Veterans Day.  This time off must be provided regardless of whether the Veteran employee is participating in any type of Veterans Day celebration.  Any time off granted is unpaid — regardless of the employer’s size.

Memorial Day: Employers are required to provide a Veteran employee with time off, if requested by the Veteran employee,  to participate in an exercise, parade, or service in their community.

Exceptions:  Employers are not required to grant leave for Veterans Day or Memorial Day for employees who “are essential and critical to the public health or safety and determined to be essential to the safety and security of such an employee’s employer or the property of the employer.”

Take Home for Employers

This law goes into effect on November 7, 2018 (just in time for Veterans Day).  It is recommended that all Massachusetts employers revise their personnel policies addressing leave for Veterans Day and Memorial Day and train managers how to handle leave requests for these holidays.