Proposed Bill would Require Employers to Provide “Domestic Violence Leave”

The Missouri Senate has before it proposed legislation, Senate Bill 130, which would provide limited unpaid leave to those who have been affected by domestic violence. If the legislation passes into law, Missouri would join a growing number of states and municipalities that require private employers to allow some type of leave or other reasonable accommodation to employees who are victims of domestic violence. Currently, there is no federal requirement for this type of leave.

The proposed legislation defines a person affected by domestic violence as the victim of said violence or the “spouse, parent, son, daughter, other person related by blood or by present or prior marriage, other person who shares a relationship through a son or daughter, and persons jointly residing in the same household” of the victim. The leave would allow affected persons to receive medical or psychological treatment, obtain victim and legal services, and to attend court hearings to pursue prosecution.

Employers would be required to maintain postings regarding the domestic violence leave law. An employee seeking such leave would be required to request the leave at least 48 hours in advance, unless giving notice would not be “practicable.” The employer could require an employee to show proof of a domestic violence incident in the form of documentation from a person from whom the employee has sought assistance, a police report or court record, or “other corroborating evidence.”

The proposed legislation in Missouri would allow one or two weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period, depending upon the size of the employer. Other States have allowed up to 15 days of leave; some jurisdictions even require employers to provide paid leave.

The proposed law in Missouri would not afford special leave provisions to those affected by other types of crimes such as murder, non-domestic assaults or sexual assaults, robbery, or burglary.

The St. Louis employment attorneys at McMahon Berger have been representing employers across the country in labor and employment matters, including those relating to drafting discrimination policies, for almost sixty years, and are available to discuss these issues and others.  As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation as every situation must be evaluated on its own facts. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.