The state’s version of the federal Soldiers’ and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1941 (SSCRA) provides employment protections if you are a public servant called to, or volunteering for military service in an emergency, so long as you are not dishonorably discharged. There are also civil litigation and official documents protections for all persons who serve. In that this law is more generous than the federal SCRA in terms of extensions for certain proceedings, it supersedes the federal law. It does not apply to proceedings if you are a defendant, executor, or administrator.
If you are a public employee who resigns to serve in the military, you are considered on a leave of absence, and can be re-employed so long as your return within two years of military service. You are entitled to all seniority rights so long as you return to public service within two years. Your employee pension is protected and your military service is credited to it. (Note: In that these time provisions are more generous than those provided in USERRA, above, they supersede it.)
Certain Municipal, District, County Employees:
Certain elected municipal, district, and county officers’ positions are protected by temporary substitutes.
You can have real estate deeds, powers of attorney, and other instruments acknowledged before certain commissioned officers. Certain commissioned officers have the power and authority to be commissioners, notaries public, and justices of the peace in order to administer oaths and take depositions, affidavits, and acknowledgements of those in military service.
Other Massachusetts benefits and protections
National Guard members
If you are in the Massachusetts National Guard, you receive extra protections. No employer (public or private) can discriminate against you under M.G.L. ch. 33, s.13. If you work for the state, you get paid your state salary while you are on certain types of duty in the Commonwealth at the order of the commander-in-chief. This applies to counties and municipalities, if they adopt M.G.L. ch.33, s.59. These duties include annual training, emergency assistance, repelling invasions or suppressing insurrections, controlling riots or mobs, or protecting persons or property during catastrophes or natural disasters.
Real estate tax:
If, in the judgment of the assessor, you can show poverty or financial hardship resulting from a call-up, and if you file a timely application, you can get a property tax exemption under Chapter 470 of the Acts of 2002. The exemption is executed in a tax deferral and recovery agreement providing protection for the member’s share in the property and for your surviving spouse and heirs. For more information, see the law at www.state. ma.us/legis/laws/seslaw02/sl020470.htm.
If you are a “veteran,” as defined in M.G.L. ch. 4, s.7, cl.43rd, and you hold a state job which is not subject to M.G.L. ch. 31 (civil service), you are protected if you have three years in your position. You have tenure 34 • Veterans’ Laws and Benefitsin that position under M.G.L. ch. 30, s.9A. In the event of a lay-off, you have a right to a similar existing position, in the same group or grade, unless all positions are held by veterans, in which case lay-offs are in inverse order of their original appointments. Tenured veterans have preference amongst themselves according to the date of their appointment.
Veterans who are civil service employees, classified under Chapter 31, also have lay-off protection in that disabled veterans are retained in preference to all other persons, including veterans. See M.G.L. ch.31, s.26 at www.state.ma.us/legis/laws/mgl/31-26.htm.
Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance:
Acts of 2005 ch. 130
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will reimburse 50% of the monthly premium for any amount of coverage for a member of the Massachusetts National Guard who purchases the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance or 50% of equivalent coverage for group life insurance with a company of the Guard member’s choosing, not to exceed the amount of the premium that would be covered if they were to elect coverage by Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance.
Acts of 2005 ch. 130
This change to the existing law allows for those members of the National Guard or Reserves in neighboring states but working in a public service capacity within Massachusetts to have the military service counted as creditable service time and may be applied toward retirement on a ratio of five years of Guard or Reserve time for each year of active service.