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Ask the Hotline | Employee Wants Time Off for Veterans Day

November 5, 2017
 
Q. One of my employees who is a veteran came to me and requested time off for a Veterans Day activity. Are we required to provide that time off? 
 
A. Governor Charlie Baker signed a law in 2016 providing new leave rights to Massachusetts veterans. 
 
Veterans Day
 
All private employers must grant leave to a veteran employee to participate in a Veterans Day exercise, parade or service. Veterans are entitled to leave “of sufficient time to participate” in an event that takes place in the veteran’s “community of residence.”
 
Employers with 50 or more employees must grant a paid leave of absence for a veteran seeking to participate in an event on Veterans Day, so long as the employee provides reasonable notice. Employers with fewer than 50 employees have the option to provide paid leave, but are not required to do so.
 
Employers are not required to provide leave when an employee provides services that “are essential and critical to the public health or safety and determined to be essential to the safety and security of each such employer or property thereof.”
 
Memorial Day
 
All private employers must grant leave to a veteran employee to participate in a Memorial Day exercise, parade or service. Employee veterans are entitled to leave “of sufficient time to participate” in an event that takes place in the veteran’s “community of residence.”
 
Leave to participate in a Memorial Day event may be paid or unpaid.
 
Employers are not required to provide leave where an employee provides services that “are essential and critical to the public health or safety and determined to be essential to the safety and security of each such employer or property thereof.”
 
Please contact the AIM Employer Hotline at 800-470-6277 if you have questions about this or any other HR-related issue.  
 
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