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Domestic Violence Leave

Updated November 2018

It is the intent of Cambridge College to foster a safe and supportive community for all staff, faculty, students and visitors.  Staff and Faculty who experience the effects of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault are encouraged to utilized job-protected leave from the workplace in order to seek and obtain assistance.

Leave Entitlement

In accordance with Massachusetts law, Cambridge College provides up to 15 days of unpaid leave in any 12-month period to an employee who is a victim of abusive behavior, or the family member of a victim of abusive behavior, including domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.  This leave can be used for the following:

  • To see or obtain medical care, counseling, victim services, or legal assistance;
  • To secure housing;
  • To meet with law enforcement;
  • To attend court proceedings, including for purposes of obtaining a protective order or for child custody proceedings;
  • To address other issues directly related to the abusive behavior.

Use of Paid Leave

Leave taken pursuant to this policy is unpaid; however, employees may choose to use accrued sick leave while taking leave under this policy.  If an employee does not have sufficient accrued sick leave to cover the entire duration of the leave under this policy, then the employee may choose to use vacation or personal days while taking domestic violence leave.

Individuals Covered Under the Law

Domestic violence is defined under the state law as abuse by a current or former spouse, a person with whom the victim shares a child, a person cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim, a relative, a person with whom the employee or family member has or had a dating relationship.  Covered family members include: the employee’s spouse, parent, step-parent, child, step-child, sibling, grandparent, and grandchild.  In the case of abuse of a family member, the employee is not entitled to leave if he or she is the alleged perpetrator.

Notification Procedure

In most cases, employees seeking domestic violence leave must provide advanced notice of the leave and supporting documentation to the Office of Human Resources.   However, in emergency situations, where there is a threat of imminent danger to the health or safety of the employee or the covered family member, advanced notice is not required but the employee must notify the Office of Human Resources within three (3) working days that the leave was taken and provide supporting documentation.   Notification may be provided by the employee, a family member or a professional assisting the employee with addressing the abusive behavior.

Upon return from leave, the employee must be restored to the employee’s original job or to an equivalent position.  The law prohibits the College from taking any disciplinary action against the employee for an unscheduled absence, provided that the employee provides supporting documentation within 30 days of the absence. 

Supporting Documentation

Such documentation must demonstrate that the employee or a family member was the victim of abusive behavior and that the leave was related to that behavior.  These requirements may be satisfied by a protective order or other documentation issued by a court, a police report or witness statement provided to the police, documents showing the perpetrator was convicted or admitted to facts sufficient to establish guilt of abusive behavior, medical documentation or a sworn statement from a counselor or other advocate.  The College cannot require the employee to produce evidence of an arrest or conviction.  All information related to the employee’s leave is kept confidential, unless disclosure is expressly permitted under the statute.

In accordance with Massachusetts law, the College does not discriminate against employees for taking protected leave and unconditionally prohibits discrimination on this basis.


Employees in need of further assistance should contact the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-386-7055; The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233; and/or the Office of Human Resources.

California Employees, see attached notice.