Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New CAP Report Provides Analysis of State Safe Leave Laws for Survivors of Violence
Press Release

RELEASE: New CAP Report Provides Analysis of State Safe Leave Laws for Survivors of Violence

Washington, D.C. — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 million women and 8 million men in the United States report experiencing intimate partner violence in the past 12 months. For individuals experiencing domestic, sexual, and other forms of violence, pursuing safety often means missing work to relocate, access support, or deal with legal proceedings. A new Center for American Progress report surveys and analyzes state laws that provide “safe leave”—specific workplace leave rights in relation to violence—including both shorter- and longer-term paid leave and unpaid leave protections.

The three main types of safe leave laws include:

  • Paid sick and safe time laws. These allow employees to earn and use paid time off based on the hours they work. Survivors can use this time for mental or physical health needs or attending legal proceedings, relocating, or getting support from a victim services organization. Currently, 15 states and Washington, D.C., have these laws in place. However, passing the Healthy Families Act would guarantee paid sick and safe leave nationally. 
  • Paid family and medical leave laws. These laws provide cash benefits through insurance systems, allowing them to cover long-term needs. To date, six states have passed paid family and medical leave laws that explicitly cover safe leave needs, providing protections to cover extended needs.
  • Unpaid leave laws. In addition, several states—many of which also provide paid safe leave—have laws specifically guaranteeing unpaid safe leave, which protect workers’ jobs but not their paychecks.

“Paid, protected safe leave is a crucial tool for empowering workers to take the actions they need to ensure safety for themselves and their families,” said Molly Weston Williamson, senior fellow with the Women’s Initiative at CAP and author of the report. “State laws, particularly those that provide pay, offer essential models to build upon as the work continues to guarantee paid leave for all federally—including paid leave for all survivors that truly meets their needs.”

Read the report: “The State of Safe Leave” by Molly Weston Williamson

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at [email protected]. 

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