A new breadth of employee laws are sweeping the nation, and this time they are directed at providing employees paid leave to take care of themselves or a loved one in a domestic violence situation.
The United States has a very serious domestic violence problem. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
To help combat these horrifying statistics, laws have been, and are continuing to be, enacted all over the country to grant domestic violence and sexual assault victims leave to recover, take steps to escape the situation, or seek legal remedies. Previously most of these state laws only permitted employees to take unpaid leave. However, increasingly, the new wave of paid sick leave laws are being amended to include paid safe leave. In addition, states that do not already have paid sick leave are starting to pass paid sick and safe leave as a joint measure.
A case in point: the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law took effect last month. NYC made headlines when it became one of the first major cities on the east coast to permit employees to take up to 40 hours a year of paid sick leave. NYC now permits these hours to be used for paid safe leave as well. Under the NYC law, employees are permitted to use this time to seek legal and social services assistance or take other safety measures if the employee or a family member may be the victim of any act of domestic violence or unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking. Continue Reading