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Private employers in Massachusetts must grant leave for Memorial Day or Veterans Day to any employee who is a veteran. An employee is not eligible to use this leave if his or her services are essential and critical to public health or safety and are determined to be essential to the safety and security of the employer or the employer’s property.

Effective November 8, 2018, an amendment to the law eliminates the requirement that employers of 50 or more employees grant Veterans Day leave with pay if the employee provides reasonable notice that he or she will be participating in Veterans Day activities. Thus, no Massachusetts employer is required to provide paid leave for a veteran to observe Veterans Day. Instead, leave to observe these holidays can be paid or unpaid at the employer’s discretion. There is no change to Memorial Day leave, this has always been the employer’s option to provide paid or unpaid.

Revisions to sample policy

All Massachusetts employers should review their current Veterans Day and Memorial Day leave for veterans to ensure their policy meets the policy requirements. If you are an HR Knowledge Full Service or Virtual HR client, please contact us regarding your employee handbook updates. If you are not a current client, use the following sample language to update your policy:

Veterans and Memorial Day Leave for Veterans Sample Language

The Company will provide employees who are veterans time off to participate in local Veterans Day or Memorial Day exercises, parades, or services. For purposes of this policy, a veteran is someone who has received an honorable discharge from military service.

Employees whose services are essential and critical to public health and safety and to the Company’s safety and security are not eligible for this leave.

Leave under this policy will be [paid or unpaid]. Employees should contact their supervisor to make appropriate arrangements.


This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.