Ask A Domestic Violence Lawyer: Taking Time Off Work

For those who are victims of abuse from an intimate partner, the right to take time off from work is provided under federal law. In some situations, state laws may also provide extended leave for employees who are injured due to abuse. It is best to consult a domestic violence lawyer if the workplace does not comply with laws provided.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can be defined as the mental or physical abuse inflicted by a partner. It can often deter the victim from going to work, whether it is for the purpose of obtaining medical assistance or to move to a safer location. Time off may also be required if one person damages or sabotages the others ability to get to work, such as vehicular damage or withholding access to cash.

Because of the increased amount of time away from work that is required to deal with these situations, many states have chosen to adopt domestic violence leave laws that provides time off for victims. In addition to utilizing the Family Medical Leave Act, which provides up to 12 weeks off per year to handle personal or family medical ordeals, these specialized laws permit victims to take time off to attend court proceedings.

Statewide Domestic Violence Leave Laws

The states that currently have these laws in place are very similar in what they cover, but there are variations.

For instance, some may vary in the length of time they offer. Some states provide a set amount of days off while others simply stipulate that a “reasonable amount of time” away is adequate. Other states only require that an employee not be fired due to absence stemming from a domestic abuse incident.

The stated reason for being away is also a consideration that varies. The list of covered activities is different, but may include all or some of the following: seeking mental or emotional counseling, seeking a domestic violence lawyer, going to court, or seeking a restraining order.

In addition, each state has different requirements for the application process. Some employers may need significant notice and extensive paperwork. However, there are typically stipulations in place for emergencies when notice is not an option. Other areas may require written proof for being absent.

The issue of paid days off will also depend on your location. No state requires employers to pay employees for time off. Employees may be able to use accrued hours from vacation or sick days before taking leave.

When dealing with abuse situations, it is crucial to work closely with a domestic violence lawyer to ensure total safety from an aggressor. They can also advise when a victim may need to take time off to deal with all that is necessary in these cases.