Advocating for Women's Paid Sick and Safe Leaves


By: DiversityWorking Press
Date Posted: October 25, 2015
News Source: Think Progress

A story recently appeared on Think Progress narrating the ordeal of a woman who suffered physical abuse from her boyfriend, and then suffered additional woes when her employer fired her because she “had too many issues outside of work.” She went on to sue her employer, and the case is still ongoing.





Her situation is not unique and this brings attention to the need for women's paid sick and safe leaves, the report by Think Progress says.

Think Progress says in its report that while the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives any employee at a company with 50 or more employees the right to take unpaid leave for a medical issue, which victims can use to recover from injuries, they often need to take leave for a much wider number of issues: going to court appearances, meeting with lawyers or the police, getting counseling, switching locks or even moving locations to stay safe. None of that is covered by the FMLA, and only 15 states require leave for victims to take care of those needs.

Maya Raghu, a senior attorney with the anti-domestic violence organization Futures Without Violence, was quoted by Think Progress: “Leave is one of the most common things and most important things that survivors frequently need...“There’s this very long list of things you have to take care of and deal with, and a lot of those necessitate time off from work.” Yet many risk their jobs and their incomes if they have to leave to deal with their abusers.”

As of the moment, there is still no national requirement that employers offer their workers paid time of for illness, however, leaving about 40 percent of private sector workers without any paid days, including about 70 percent of low-income Americans.[...] President Obama and Democratic lawmakers have pushed to pass a national bill, but it hasn’t moved forward. - <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/08/03/3687251/pittsburgh-paid-sick-leave/">click here</a>

Hence, the movement for paid sick days has recently been gaining momentum. Being assured of pay while taking time off from work to recover or deal with abuse is indeed a big help for women in abusive relationships; moreso when many cannot get away from abusive partners who have financial control over them. President Obama's executive order in September mandating seven paid sick and safe days at any company that contracts with the federal government, is giving strength to the movement as well.

“The ability of the abuser to control the pursestrings is clearly key to the control and abuse,” according to Lisalyn Jacobs, vice president for government relations at Legal Momentum, as reported by Think Progress.

It is hoped that all pending state legislatures for paid sick and safe leaves be passed soon. It is already a great challenge to find oneself in a traumatic, even dangerous situation such as an abusive relationship, but the challenge becomes more insurmountable when women victims find themselves without any financial means to support their needs and start anew.

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Read the full article at Think Progress




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