What Should Employers Do About Domestic Violence?

What Should Employers Do About Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence in an employee’s home life is the sort of situation HR hasn’t traditionally had to deal with. Most companies—65 percent, according to SHRM—don’t have a formal workplace domestic violence prevention policy, but Fortune’s Ellen McGirt argues that this is a tremendous oversight:

The total costs to the US economy of intimate violence – including medical care, mental health services, and time away from work exceed $8 billion a year. The figure for lost productivity alone is some $727.8 million. That’s 8 million paid work days lost each year. …

Victims have a wide variety of practical needs. They may need time away from work for legal, financial or psychological counseling – which they may not be able to afford. They may need time for court dates, and for meetings with teachers or other caregivers. They may be injured or traumatized and need time to recover. They may be having trouble focusing at work, particularly on stretch assignments. And because domestic violence can be deeply humiliating, it may be difficult for them to tell people around them what they need. They may not even know themselves. And the perpetrators often harass them at work.

“If intimate partner violence is not currently part of your inclusion plans,” McGirt asserts, “it needs to be.”

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New York City Amends Sick Leave Law, Adds ‘Safe Time’ for Domestic Violence Victims

New York City Amends Sick Leave Law, Adds ‘Safe Time’ for Domestic Violence Victims

The New York City Council passed an amendment to the city’s paid sick leave law last week that would require employers to grant paid time off as “safe time” to employees when they or a family member have been the victim of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, or other “family offense matters,” according to Newsday’s Matthew Chayes:

The bill, Introduction 1313-A of 2016, passed unanimously, and extends existing rules governing an employee’s “earned” sick time, which accrues over the course of time on the job, to family abuse claims.

“Often times, women would miss appointments with either a DA, or miss appointments at the police precinct, or, unfortunately in cases, had to go and serve orders of protection, they had to go themselves and weren’t able to do that because they weren’t able to take the time off work,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-Queens), a prime sponsor of the bill.

Mayor Bill deBlasio has not yet signed the bill into law, but is expected to do so soon, and if he does, it will go into effect 180 days after his signature. At Lexology, a group of Jackson Lewis attorneys detail the circumstances under which employees would be entitled to “safe time”:

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