Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FMLA Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence

Legislation has been reintroduced into Congress by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) that would allow employees to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to address acts of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking aimed at themselves, a spouse (including domestic partner and same-sex spouse), parent or child.  The bill, the Domestic Violence Leave Act (H.R. 3151), could be used to seek medical attention for injuries; obtain legal assistance or remedies; participate in a legal proceeding; attend support groups or therapy; and participate in safety planning, among other related activities held during work hours. An employee would be able to substitute paid leave for the leave provided under this bill. An employer would be entitled to seek certification that the employee is legitimately taking FMLA leave for the reasons outlined in the measure, but would be required to keep such information confidential. In lieu of such written documentation as police reports or witness statements, an employee would be able to satisfy the certification requirement by providing a written statement describing the reason for taking leave.

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