FMLA for Domestic Violence?

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The Domestic Violence Leave Act (H.R. 3151) was introduced by Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California in June. She reintroduced it on Oct. 11 in light of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This legislation would allow employees to take lave under FMLA to address acts of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking aimed at themselves, a spouse (including domestic partners and same sex-sex spouses), parent or child.

FMLA leave 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 written documentation, such 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.

The text of this bill already has been incorporated into a more extensive leave bill – the Balancing Act of 2011 (H.R. 2346) – Rep. Woolsey introduced in June. Yet another measure, the Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1876, S. 984) introduced in May, would require employers to provide paid sick leave as well as paid leave for employees who are the victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.

For more information on proposed Domestic Violence Leave Act please visit:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-3151

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