Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts signed into law An Act Relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment (also known as “The HOME Act”) on July 14, 2016. One of the provisions of the HOME Act requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide paid leave to qualified veterans on Veterans Day each year to participate in Veterans Day activities.
Prior to July, Massachusetts businesses were required to provide a leave of absence to veterans who wished to participate in activities on Veterans Day or Memorial Day, however each company could decide whether this leave would be paid or unpaid.
The HOME Act requires that veterans, any individual who was honorably discharged from any branch of the U.S. military, be allowed a paid day off on Veterans Day as long as they work for a company with 50 or more employees and they provide their employer with “reasonable notice” of their intent to take leave.
In addition, the HOME Act amended the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act by adding “veteran status” as a protected category. Employers now must include “veteran status” as a protected class, similar to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc.