Victims of domestic violence in New York City may soon benefit from paid “safe leave” if they need time off from work to seek services related to the abuse.
The proposed legislation, introduced by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, would allow domestic violence survivors to take paid leave to attend to their safety needs ― without the prospect of losing their job.
“No woman should have to decide between her safety and her paycheck,” de Blasio said at a press conference announcing the measure. “We need to make sure that work will be protected, not interrupted; that pay will be protected, not interrupted while a woman pursues justice ― while she takes care of things she needs to ensure her safety.”
He added that on average, the New York Police Department receives one domestic violence report every 2 minutes. “That is an unacceptable state of affairs in the greatest city in the world, and we aim to change it,” he said.
The Paid Safe Leave legislation would amend the current paid sick leave law, which requires that some businesses provide up to five paid days off each year for workers to use if they or their family members fall ill.
Under the new legislation, victims could use those five days as paid safe leave to seek medical help, file an order of protection, meet with law enforcement or an attorney, relocate, enroll a child in a new school, or access other related services.
Currently, five states ― California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont ― and Washington, D.C., have laws requiring employers to provide paid safe leave to employees if they are victims of domestic violence.
Other states have laws that protect victims of domestic violence from losing their job or being penalized if they need to take time off from work to deal with matters related to domestic violence, such as appearing in court.