Last week, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) reintroduced the Domestic Violence Leave Act, which expands paid leave
options for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
Details of the Domestic Violence Leave Act
Here is a brief summary of the act, courtesy of this press release from Rep. Woolsey:
This Act expands the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (and Title 5, Section
6382 of the United States Code for Federal workers) to provide leave for
workers to address domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and their
effects. The Act applies to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking of
an employee, or the employee's family member (which also includes an adult son
or daughter) who is addressing those issues.
The terms 'domestic violence,' 'sexual
assault,' and 'stalking' have the same meanings as under the Violence Against Women Act, and the term 'domestic
violence' includes dating violence.
Under the bill, the worker can use leave in a
variety of ways including seeking medical attention for injuries; seeking legal
assistance or remedies, including participating in a legal proceeding;
attending support groups; obtaining counseling; participating in safety
planning; and any other activity necessitated by domestic violence, sexual
assault or stalking.
The Act also provides that the employer must
keep all evidence of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking in the strictest
confidence, except with the consent of the employee to protect the safety of
the employee or family member or to assist in documenting the domestic
violence, sexual assault or stalking for a court or law enforcement agency.
As Littler's Employment Law Update notes, the text of this
bill has already been incorporated into a more extensive leave bill - the
Balancing Act of 2011 (H.R. 2346).
What the Act would mean for employers, if
In addition to creating FMLA protections for workers to
address domestic violence, there are two particular points of which employers
should take note:
This article was originally published on Eric B. Meyer's blog, The Employer
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