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Sen. DiDomenico supports foreclosure bills, employment rights for domestic violence victims

BOSTON – Senator Sal DiDomenico submitted written testimony last week to show his support of two bills he has co-sponsored relating to the creation of mediation programs. Both aim at reducing the amount of foreclosures in the Commonwealth.

According to a statement released by the Senator’s office, the bills would give borrowers the option of mediation before foreclosure can begin as well as access to judicial review. By utilizing third party mediation, satisfactory resolutions can be reached so that more residents can keep their homes.

“As a Senator representing a district with a high rate of foreclosures, I fully understand the importance of these pieces of legislation,” said Senator DiDomenico.

“Foreclosures have an adverse impact on families, communities and the state economy and, for these reasons, it is important that we work together to prevent unnecessary evictions.  In these uncertain economic times, ensuring Massachusetts residents are allowed to keep their homes and keeping our neighborhoods stable should be a top priority.”

These bills are currently pending before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, awaiting the Committee’s final report.

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BOSTON – The Senate on Thursday passed legislation establishing new employment rights for victims of domestic violence that Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) supported. The bill passed the Senate 34-0 last week with wide support from both the business community and advocacy organizations.

“No one should have to worry about losing their job because they were a victim of domestic abuse,” said Senator DiDomenico.  “I hope that, with this legislation, those who have suffered domestic abuse will be encouraged to seek the help that they need.”

The bill requires employers with 50 or more employees to allow up to 15 days of leave, with or without pay, to any employee who is a victim of domestic violence or lives with a family member who is a victim of domestic violence.

Employees can use the leave to obtain medical attention, counseling, housing, protection orders and other legal assistance.

Employers can require employees to provide restraining orders, police reports, medical notes or other official documentation, such as a conviction record or victim advocate statement, to certify that the employee or employee’s family member is a victim of domestic violence.

The bill requires the employer to keep all information about the employee’s leave confidential. Employees must exhaust all available leave, such as vacation and sick time, before seeking leave established under this bill; however an employer may waive this requirement.

Similar legislation was passed by the Senate in the previous legislative session on May 13, 2010 but did not make it through the entire legislative process.

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