Senate passes domestic violence leave
Bill heads to House
Jan. 16, 2012
By Christine Lee
BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Legislation that gives domestic violence victims up to 15 days of leave from work, with or without pay, cleared the first hurdle toward becoming law Thursday. The state Senate unanimously approved the bill 34 to 0.
“It’s a fair solution to a scourge on our society where people live in fear, but also fear of being fired if they are trying to hide out from their abuser,” said Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre).
While the public sector already gives leave to victims who can provide evidence of domestic abuse, this bill extends to private companies. Republican Senator Robert Hedlund expressed concern that businesses can’t afford another government mandate.
Matt Nasif, a Brookline native, understands Hedlund’s argument, but points out that businesses will equally suffer without the law. “It’s going to be a burden on businesses either way whether or not they have paid leave or not. I would think, you know, it would be very emotionally taxing, probably affect their [employees’] work,” said Nasif.
Senator Cynthia Stone Creem of Newton sponsored the bill. She says domestic violence costs employers $3 to $5 billion a year in lost days at work and productivity. The bill will apply to companies with 50 employees or more and, according to Creem, has the support of the business community.
Jeff Tobin of Dorchester believes businesses should be supportive of the bill. “It’s a burden that unfortunately is part of today’s society and that needs to be dealt with and dealt with quick and businesses should step up,” said Tobin.
Senator Brewer says the bill has been passed by the Senate before. Now it heads for the House of Representatives.