According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, as many as one in four women and one in seven men, experience some type of abuse. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the time to raise awareness about this serious issue.
Domestic violence is not just a personal issue to be dealt with at home, but it can have an impact on business and employers as well. On October 1, 2013, New Jersey joined a growing number of states that require employers to provide anywhere from a few days to several months leave from work to deal with domestic violence and sexual assault issues. A recent article outlines some of the requirements in New Jersey.
“The NJ SAFE Act provides eligible employee up to 20 days of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to deal with issues of domestic violence or sexual assault affecting either the employer or the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner. Similar to other laws, to be eligible, employees must work for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked 1,000 hours or more during the previous 12-months. The leave is unpaid and must be taken within one year of the covered incident. The leave can be taken continuously or intermittently in intervals of no less than one day. Employers may require that any leave under the Act run concurrently with any federal Family Medical Leave Act or NJ Family Leave Act entitlement in appropriate circumstances. The Act also prohibits retaliation against employees for exercising their rights.”
Among others, the states of California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Maine have similar laws. The federal government is considering similar legislation, Bill H.R. 1229, which would allow emergency leave for addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.