GCCD: Domestic Violence Leave

  1. Purpose and Scope:

The purpose of this document is to outline the domestic violence leave policy of the Melrose School Committee with respect to eligibility for and use of domestic violence leave, and to ensure that domestic violence leave benefits are implemented equitably and consistently throughout the district.

  1. Applicability:

This policy applies to employees who perform services for the Melrose School District and are compensated by the City of Melrose. It excludes elected officials and other employees of the City of Melrose (which has its own policy). This policy is intended to be consistent with any and all applicable laws. If any part of this policy is inconsistent with the law, it will be considered invalid, and the remaining provisions of the policy will be construed so as to be consistent with the law. Nothing in this policy limits or prevents the district from providing time-off to employees to address situations of violence not specifically defined in this policy.

  1. Definitions:
    • Abuse means attempting to cause or causing physical harm; placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm; causing another person to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress or engaging or threatening to engage in sexual activity with a dependent child; engaging in mental abuse, including threats, intimidation or acts designed to induce terror; depriving another of medical care, housing, food or other necessities of life; or restraining the liberty of another.
    • Abusive Behavior means conduct constituting domestic violence, or unlawful stalking, sexual assault, or kidnapping.
    • Employees means individuals who perform services for and under the control and direction of the district for wages.
    • Calendar Year means the period of time between January 1st and the following December 31st.
    • Family Members (under this policy) means:
      1. Persons who are married to one another;
      2. Persons in a substantive dating or engagement relationship and who reside together;
      3. Persons having a child together;
      4. Parents, step-parents, children, step-children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren; and
      5. Persons in guardian relationships.
    • Domestic Violence means abuse against an employee or the employee’s family member by:
      1. A current or former spouse of the employee or the employee’s family member;
      2. A person with whom the employee or the employee’s family member shares a child in common;
      3. A person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the employee or the employee’s family member;
      4. A person who is related by blood or marriage to the employee;
      5. A person with whom the employee or the employee’s member has or had a dating or engagement relationship.
  2. Eligibility:

Employees who perform services for and under the control and direction of the district for wages are eligible for domestic violence leave benefits.

  1. Access to Leave:
    • An eligible employee may take up to fifteen (15) days of domestic violence leave from work in any 12-month period, if
      1. The employee or a family member of the employee is a victim of abusive behavior; and
      2. The employee is using the leave to:
        1. Seek or obtain medical attention, counseling, victim services or legal services;
        2. Secure housing;
        3. Obtain a protective order from a court;
        4. Appear in court or before a grand jury;
        5. Meet with a district attorney or other law enforcement official;
        6. Attend child custody proceedings; or
        7. Address other issues directly related to the abusive behavior against the employee or the employee’s family member; and
    • The employee is not the perpetrator of the abusive behavior against the employee’s family member.
    • Approved domestic violence leave is unpaid leave. Domestic violence leave may be taken in increments of not less than two (2) hours.
    • An employee seeking domestic violence leave will be required to exhaust all accrued paid time off (i.e., vacation leave, personal leave and sick leave to the extent available under the circumstances) prior to requesting or taking leave under this policy. An employee who is not eligible for paid time off or has exhausted all of his/her paid time off is eligible for unpaid domestic violence leave under this policy.
    • If additional time off is required, the employee should discuss this with his or her Principal. Nothing in this policy limits or impairs an employee’s right or ability to seek other types of applicable unpaid time off.
  2. Required Notice
    • Employees are generally required to provide appropriate advance notice by submitting a Notice of Need for Leave form, except in cases of imminent danger to the health or safety of the employee or the employee’s family member.
    • In cases of imminent danger, the employee is required to notify the district within three (3) work days of his/her first absence that the leave was taken or is being taken.
    • The district will not take negative actions against an employee for an unscheduled absence, if, within thirty (30) days from the unauthorized absence or last unauthorized absence in cases of consecutive unauthorized absences, the employee provides any of the indicated forms of documentation of the need for domestic violence leave, as required by Section 7(C) below.
  3. Required Documentation:
    • The district requires an employee to provide documentation showing that an employee or employee’s family member is a victim of domestic violence and that the leave taken is consistent with the provisions of Section 5(A) above.
    • The district does not require an employee to show evidence of an arrest, conviction, or other law enforcement documentation for such abusive behavior.
    • An employee may satisfy the documentation requirement by producing any of the following documents within a reasonable period of time from the request:
      • A protective order, order of equitable relief or other documentation issued by a court as a result of abusive behavior against the employee or the employee’s family member;
      • A document under the letterhead of the court, provider, or public agency that the employee attended for the purposes of acquiring assistance as it relates to the abusive behavior against the employee or employee’s family member;
      • A police report or statement of a victim or witness provided to the police, including a police incident report, documenting the abusive behavior complained of by the employee or the employee’s family member;
      • Documentation that the perpetrator of the abusive behavior has admitted to sufficient facts to be found guilty, or has been convicted of, or has been adjudicated a juvenile delinquent by reason of any offense constituting abusive behavior and which is related to the abusive behavior that necessitated the leave under this policy;
      • Medical documentation of treatment as a result of the abusive behavior complained of by the employee or the employee’s family member;
      • A sworn statement, signed under the pains and penalties of perjury, provided by a counselor, social worker, health care worker, member of the clergy, shelter worker, legal advocate, or other similar professional who has assisted the employee or the employee’s family member in addressing the effects of abusive behavior;
      • A sworn statement, signed under the pains and penalties of perjury, from the employee, attesting that he or she has been the victim of abusive behavior or is the family member of a victim of abusive behavior.
    • The district will maintain any received documentation in the employee’s personnel file, but only for so long as required for the district to make a determination as to whether the employee is eligible for domestic violence leave.
    • All information related to the employee’s leave will be kept confidential by the district and will not be disclosed, except to the extent that disclosure is:
      • Requested or consented to, in writing, by the employee;
      • Ordered to be released by a court of competent jurisdiction;
      • Otherwise required by applicable federal or state law;
      • Required in the course of an investigation authorized by law enforcement, including, but not limited to, an investigation by the Attorney General; or,
      • Necessary to protect the safety of the employee or others employed at the workplace.
  4. General
    • The district will not coerce, interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise or any attempted exercise of any rights provided under this policy, or to make leave requested or taken under this policy contingent upon whether or not the victim maintains contact with the alleged abuser.
    • Principals are required to act consistent with this policy and to ensure that this policy is implemented consistently within their school.
    • In the event of an error or violation of this policy, either intentional or unintentional, Human Resources must be immediately informed. Human Resources will identify and make the proper correction(s). A violation of this policy, whether intentional or unintentional, will not change this policy, nor set a precedent in any future application of this policy.
    • The district will not discriminate against an employee for exercising his or her rights under this policy. The taking of approved domestic violence leave will not result in the loss of any employment benefits that were accrued prior to the date on which the leave began. Upon the employee’s return from domestic violence leave, he or she will be entitled to restoration to his or her original job or to an equivalent position.

MSC first vote: 2/24/15
MSC second vote: 3/3/15